Monday, November 26, 2007

Illegal abortions in the UK

Briefing: this investigation blows a hole in the biggest argument for legal abortion: that it makes illegal abortions disapeer. It seems it does not.

From CFNews: Illegal abortions are still taking place in the UK, a BBC undercover investigation has discovered. Abortion has been legal in Britain for 40 years - under certain conditions a woman can terminate a pregnancy up to 24 weeks. But the BBC has discovered pills for getting rid of unwanted pregnancies are readily available on the black market. The BBC Radio 5 Live Report followed up on internet chat room messages left by women asking for abortion advice. 'Special herbs' There was online discussion about special Chinese herbs being sold in East London. A BBC undercover reporter posing as an illegal immigrant visited several Chinese herbal shops, saying she was 6 weeks pregnant. The third one she went into, the Shanghai Herbal and Acupuncture Centre on Kingsland Road in east London, offered to help her. It was clear from the start that the staff - Dr Shen and Dr Wang - knew what they were doing was wrong. 'You come in this shop, you are lucky. Do you understand. My boss does't like me to do this treatment, my boss thinks it is a risk. So my boss doesn't know. You understand?' the reporter was told.

They first sold her a herbal remedy for £40 - a mixture to drink three times a day to start a miscarriage. Risky A Manchester doctor told the programme that his team regularly came across patients with extensive bleeding after taking herbs. The Chinese herbalists also advised the undercover reporter to buy another 'special tablet' in case the herbs didn't work. 'If you see the bleeding, come out, that's fine, some people don't. I need to call another company, from China, [they will] deliver it to here, you understand?' Our reporter paid £100 for this pill which turned out to be the abortion drug RU486, which is illegal to sell without prescription. Community health workers told us the issue of illegal abortion affects many women from young British teenagers who do not trust their doctor, through to people who are here illegally and are frightened of being found out.

Another reason women seek out illegal terminations is cost. Backstreet Abortion is not free on the NHS for every woman. If someone's home country doesn't have a reciprocal NHS agreement, or you are here illegally - then you face paying between £500 and £1,500. In addition to herbs, the 5 Live Report found other ways of getting hold of abortion drugs, like one called misoprostol or Cytotec. Our reporter met a Polish man called Robert in a West London cafĂ©. She said she was eight weeks pregnant and wanted an abortion and as Robert handed over the pills he told her how he got hold of them. 'It comes either from Fiji islands or Turkey. The ones I have now are from Turkey, they are sent to Poland and then I have a courier who brings them from Poland to here'.

He told our undercover reporter that this was not just a one-off transaction, boasting that he had smuggled this drug in many times before. One side effect of taking abortion drugs is extensive bleeding, that if unsupervised can be dangerous. But Robert was keen to point out that the drugs would be untraceable. 'If something happened and you had to go to hospital, the doctor will think that everything happened naturally.' The BBC reporter paid £30 for 14 tablets. This man had acted entirely illegally - not only had he peddled prescription drugs, he had broken the abortion law again by aiding an abortion without a licence. However, Robert hung-up the phone when the Radio 5 Live called him to put this accusation to him. Our investigation suggests illegal abortion activity may be widespread. A health worker in east London health worker told us she was routinely asked to get abortion drugs without prescription. A Department of Health spokeswoman said: 'We have no evidence that illegal abortions are being performed.' [BBC Radio 5]

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen