In a column published in The Independent, Ann Furedi, CEO of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, argues that the existing English abortion law should be scrapped because abortion is simply another form of birth control.
Today, abortion is understood to be a fact of life. We expect to plan our families using the contraception that is freely available cost-free on the NHS. But we know that contraception is not infallible, and nor are we. We draw comfort from knowing that abortion is available as a back up to our chosen method of birth control. The existing laws are not fit for purpose – and the way abortion is provided today begs a simple question: why have a law at all?
This is consistent with earlier statements she has made. In 2010 she told New Zealanders that abortion is required as a part of family planning programmes because contraception is not always effective. She noted that abortion rates do not drop when more effective means of contraception are available because women are no longer willing to tolerate the consequences of contraceptive failure.[TVNZ]
Furedi’s comments indicate that pressure to provide abortion is likely to increase even where contraception is readily available, thus increasing potential for conflicts of conscience among health care workers who do not wish to be involved with the procedure. They also demonstrate a categorical refusal to acknowledge a critical factual distinction: that preventing the conception of an infant by contraception is not the same as killing an infant by abortion. This distinction central to the reasoning of health care workers and others who refuse to participate in abortion, though they may have no objection to contraception.