In the UK, it has been discovered that abortionists are performing sex-selective abortions — that is, ending the lives of unborn baby girls because their mothers would prefer not to have female children. British law is supposed to ban this kind of abortion. But of course that is unenforceable. Anthony Daniels, the physician who writes under the name Theodore Dalrymple, says that the “health of the woman” exception in UK abortion law offers a loophole as big as the world. Excerpt from his essay:
In fact, the whole sorry story illustrates the mess we get into when two notions become culturally prominent: on the one hand of rights and on the other of consumer choice.
Whatever the law says, most people now think that abortion is a right under all circumstances and not something that is permissible if certain conditions are met, as the framers of the law surely intended. That particular slippery slope has long been slid down. And the same people now conceive of life as an existential supermarket in which they are consumers, choosing the way they live much as they choose cranberry juice or the flavour of crisps that they want. And the customer in the existential supermarket, as in Tesco, is always right.
Into this poisonous mixture we must add the notion that any form of distress, or even the slightest frustration arising no matter how self-indulgently, constitutes an impairment of mental health: for the mentally healthy person is always happy and never experiences any difficulties in life. In short, inconvenience is the greatest of all threats to our well-being, and must at all times be avoided. It is our right to avoid it.
The Abortion Act was intended as a humane response to genuine hardship: the type of hardship that drove women to back-street abortionists. I supported it, not realising that its intentions would soon be subverted by a change in the character of the population, including that of doctors, who would easily affix their names to declarations they knew or suspected to be false. But now the genie is out of the bottle, and I fear there is no getting it back.