Social Abortion Social

We at Birth Pangs generally like the word ‘social’. It goes very nicely in front of ‘democracy’, ‘conscience’, ‘contract’, and ‘justice’. Not so well before ‘climber’ or ‘Darwinism’, but very happily after ‘strawberry’. All in all, a pretty good word.

But today we ran into a new (for some of us) usage of it in a story on the abortion rate in the UK.

The abortion rate rose by 3.9% in 2006 in England and Wales, according to the Guardian. Terminations for teenagers raised the overall rate.

The figure for teenagers – among the highest in Europe – was also up last year. The abortion rate per 1,000 women was 3.9 among under 16s and 18.2 among under 18s. The rate was highest at 35 per 1,000 for women aged 19.

Apparently, this came as no surprise to officials.

The health minister, Caroline Flint, welcomed the fact that a higher percentage of abortions were taking place at an early stage, with almost two-thirds occurring before 10 weeks’ gestation and most under 13 weeks.

“It is important that women have early access to abortion services as the earlier the abortion, the lower the risk of complications,” she said.

“We have invested £8m to improve early access and set a standard of a maximum waiting time of three weeks. However, the NHS needs to work harder to reduce the demand for abortions by improving access to contraception.”

Ms Flint said primary care trusts have received an extra £40m over 2006/08 to improve access to contraceptive services – part of the extra investment for sexual health announced in the public health white paper.

So this is good, eh?

In the current ‘he said/she said’ style of so-called journalism, the other side was mentioned as well.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (Spuc) blamed the rising abortion trend on the government’s efforts to cut NHS waiting times.

It argued that this was leading to an increasing number of young, single women being pressured into having ‘social’ abortions, and having them in ‘short order’.

Short-order social abortions. Conjures up images, doesn’t it? (And to digess a bit, in the perverted fetus-fetishizing mind cutting waiting times is bad???)

Being unfamiliar with the new code phrase term, we googled and got 1700 hits, mostly from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. Here’s a bit from a fetus fetishist organization in New Zealand

A committee of the District Health Board had advised the Minister of Health in December 2000 that “clinical staff are reluctant to perform second trimester abortions, particularly social terminations.”

This provoked a rebuke from a senior Ministry of Health official, who advised the Auckland writer: “You make reference to ‘social abortions’. The term ‘social abortion’ is a colloquial term, used to imply that some legal abortions are not morally acceptable. It is not appropriate for officials to use this term in their professional capacity.”

“As far as the Government is concerned, there are only two types of abortion in New Zealand: abortions legally sanctioned by Parliament and illegal abortions. Thankfully, to my knowledge, there are none of the other type [i.e., “illegal”].”

From our googling, we found that ‘social’ abortions are constrasted with ‘medical’ or ‘moral’ abortions.

From perverted minds comes perverted language. ‘Social’ is now the opposite of ‘medical’ or ‘moral’.

Why don’t they just call a spade a spade and call them ‘selfish abortions done for frivolous reasons by hoors’?


  1. Holly Stick says

    Maybe some re-branding is in order. Call them “libertarian abortions” instead; that would bring in some of the rightwing crowd. Mind you, some of them might even go for “economic abortions”.