Jailing women for abortion: An interview with Dr. Calum Miller

Earlier this month, Carla Foster was released from prison after the UK Court of Appeal reduced her sentence from a 28-month custodial term to a 14-month suspended sentence. The 44-year-old mother of three, who hails from the Staffordshire village of Barlaston, had procured abortion pills by mail in May 2020 after a phone consultation with the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), the UK’s largest private abortion chain. At that point, she was eight months pregnant. She took the pills anyway, and on May 11 she went into labour and delivered a stillborn little girl. Lily Foster, according to the prosecution, never took a breath outside the womb.

The abortion limit in the UK is 24 weeks—weeks after the child in the womb is viable outside the womb. Lily Foster was a healthy, fully developed child, and yet the fact that her mother was prosecuted for killing her with pills triggered furious protests from abortion activists. Lily’s age, gender, or the pain she suffered in the womb did not matter to the feminists—all that mattered is that Foster was convicted in Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court “for administering drugs or using instruments to procure an abortion.”

Abortion activists marched in protest with signs reading “Our bodies Our right to decide” and “Abortion is healthcare, not a crime” and “Healthcare not handcuffs.” The body of the little girl was ignored; Lily’s murder, according to these activists, is “healthcare.”

For commentary on this case, I reached out to Dr. Calum Miller, an ethicist, philosopher, and practicing medical doctor who graduated from the University of Oxford Medical School in 2015. He teaches philosophy at Oxford, where his research focuses on abortion policy in practice. He has debated the CEO of BPAS several times, published on abortion in top academic journals, and received awards from Oxford and the Royal College of Psychiatrists for his work on bioethics. He is also one of the UK’s most articulate defenders of unborn children, as pro-abortion hosts on the BBC have discovered to their great chagrin.

What details of this story are being ignored or twisted by the press?

The most striking thing left out of these conversations is, of course, that this baby was aborted at 8 months, and very clearly not for any medical reasons, nor because the child had any disability. This is an inconvenient fact for those who say that late-term abortions only ever take place for those sorts of reasons—it’s simply not true. The other fact that is less acknowledged is that this prosecution, and others like it that are going through the courts, are only possible because the abortion providers have been recklessly and dangerously sending out abortion pills in the mail without properly verifying women’s gestational age, thus subjecting women not only to serious medical risks but even to serious legal risks as well. Of course, the abortion providers don’t care too much because it’s the women who will be facing jail sentences, not them. But it’s chilling that, rather than taking accountability for this, they are using these cases as excuses to push for abortion to be legal up to birth.


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