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Pro (limited) choice

A survey from a U.K. abortion group shows the inconsistency of the pro-abortion message


Pro (limited) choice

The U.K. government’s two-child cap for social security benefits influenced many women’s decisions to have an abortion during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report from the abortion provider British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) found. Pro-life groups in the country say they will support women who have more than two children, but pro-abortion groups steer them toward ending their pregnancies and refuse to inform them of other options.

In the BPAS survey of 240 women with two or more children who had aborted a baby since March, 59 percent said they knew about the two-child limit for government support. Of those who knew about it and who were already receiving benefits for existing children, 57 percent said the policy was an important factor in their decision to abort.

“[The two-child limit] was a big factor for me,” a woman wrote in her survey response. “My husband has lost his job, so we are on a very tight budget and when we looked at our finances we realized we couldn’t afford to have another baby.” Others wrote that they were already struggling, even without an extra child. Several cited the pandemic as the cause of their job losses and other financial difficulties.

Some expressed the difficulty of deciding to abort. “I did something I never imagined I would ever do,” a respondent wrote. But the difficult financial situation made her and others feel like no other options were available. “At the back of my mind all I kept thinking is how would I have managed financially,” she continued. “I had to do this.” Another explained that she wished “there was some more help out there for women” so her decision wouldn’t be “so forced.”

Margaret Akers with the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), a pro-life organization in the United Kingdom, said BPAS surprised her by admitting in the report that some women feel compelled to abort. But she expressed frustration at their approach: “Instead of meeting women’s actual needs—the financial needs that they have, the struggles that they have—instead, the only option that they’re offering is abortion.”

BPAS has called on the government to repeal the two-child cap because it “restricts reproductive freedom.” In the meantime, it continues offering women abortions they don’t want instead of assistance that could save their children. “To me, real care is reaching these women in their need, directing them to help to be able to continue wanted pregnancies,” Akers said. “It’s offering them something beyond abortion.”

Akers helps coordinate a fund for college students who have unexpected pregnancies. The money allows young women to continue their studies while caring for a child. Other pro-life organizations support families in situations similar to the women BPAS surveyed. “There’s help out there outside of what the government offers,” Akers said.

Many women only need a little help to get through the initial crisis, rather than continued support through the child’s life, Akers said. But women in these situations usually don’t know organizations like SPUC exist, and abortion groups like BPAS don’t point them toward this help, leaving abortion as seemingly the only option.

Leah Savas

Leah reports on pro-life topics for WORLD Magazine and WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Hillsdale College graduate. Leah resides in Grand Rapids, Mich., with her husband, Stephen.



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