BY A STAFF REPORTER
CONSERVATIVE M.P.s criticised Mr. Richard Crossman, Minister for Social Services, in the House of Commons on Monday for his recent remark that but for the Abortion Act "20.000 illegimate children would be alive now, with all the consequences."
The Minister had revealed that 20,000 of the 76.000 abortions carried out in 1968-9 pre
vented illegitimate births (CATHOLIC HERAI.D, March 13.)
Mr. Norman St. John-Stevas, M.P. for Chelmsford, Essex, described the Minister's remarks as "insensitive" and
said: "Whether you realise it or not it caused great offence and distress to many thousands of illegitimate citizens. Can you make it clear whether it is the policy of the Government to promote abortions in order to avoid illegitimacy?
"Since even the sponsors of the Act have put forward proposals for removing abuses under it, is there not an overwhelming case for an independent and impartial inquiry? If there is nothing to hide, why is the Minister resisting it?
Mr. Crossman said the Act had not run long enough to have gathered sufficient evidence to show whether the Act needed amending or not.
Sir Gerald Nabarro, M.P. for Worcestershire S., said the Minister's remarks last month had caused "widespread offence to people who object to your excessive permissiveness in this field."
Mr. Crossman said that those
who dismissed the Act failed to see the social values in it. The long-term answer was family planning.
Mrs. Jill Knight, M.P. for Edgbasto n, Birmingham, wanted an assurance that the clause giving doctors and nurses the right to refuse to take part in operations would not be removed from the Act.
Mr. Crossman replied: "I think the Act can only be operated if we abide by the conscience clause, because that was the essential basis on which we got the agreement of the medical profession."
TWO men who have provided the music at Brompton Oratory, South Kensington.
Knights of St. Gregory. They are Ralph Downes, organist, and Henry Washington, Director of Music.