London, Oct 24 (UNI) Abortion is being used as a form of contraception in Britain, Lord Steel, architect of the 1967 Abortion Act, said today.
Lord Steel, who drafted the Bill legalising abortions in Britain in certain circumstances, admitted that he never anticipated ''anything like'' the current number of terminations when leading the campaign for reform.
The Liberal Democrat regretted an ''irresponsible'' mood has emerged in which women feel they can turn to abortion ''if things go wrong''.
''Everybody can agree that there are too many abortions,'' he told Guardian in an interview, calling for better sex education and access to contraceptive advice and a debate over sexual morality to help bring the numbers down.
There were almost 194,000 terminations in England and Wales last year, rising to over 200,000 when women coming from Northern Ireland and the Irish republic are included. That was an almost four per cent increase on the previous year, with abortions among teenagers the fastest rising group.
Lord Steel, who endured threats of violence and sacks of hate mail when pushing through his private member's bill as a young MP 40 years ago, made it clear that he has ''no regrets'' over the landmark legislation, and does not regard restricting access to abortion as the answer to the rising number of terminations.
He said a lack of research into the reasons women choose to have an abortion is hampering efforts to tackle the problem of rising numbers.
He added that the Catholic church's opposition to contraception ''is absolutely contributing to the use of abortion as contraception''.