“The women who have had nine abortions” screams the Telegraph headline. Then you click on the link and find out that these 33 women – about whose experiences we know absolutely nothing – are mere statistics embedded in a more general piece on “repeat” abortions. That’s a pity, isn’t it? Shouldn’t these feckless baby killers be named and shamed?

You do of course wonder how the Telegraph would react if news came that anyone who’d had one abortion never had a second. Presumably this would mean that all those tragic “abortion industry“ victims / cold-hearted murderers had seen the error of their ways and vowed never to do the same again. In actual fact, though, that’s not what’s happening. Not only are there women who have more than one abortion over the course of their lives but the number who do so is increasing.

Is this a bad thing? I’ve no idea. I suppose it depends on the circumstances (relationships, finances, availability of contraception, medical knowledge etc.) that might lead a person to have two abortions whereas in the past they’d only have had one. One thing’s for sure, though: just because you’ve terminated one unwanted pregnancy you can’t, by sheer force of will, make any subsequent pregnancy wanted, regardless of how or why it’s occurred.

Of course, the charity LIFE sees things differently. To them, “repeat” abortions are repeat offences. Mind you, it’s not all bad news. Spokesperson Anne Scanlan claims “it is a tragedy that abortion is now regarded as a routine response to a crisis pregnancy”. While I’ve never been a supporter of LIFE and believe abortion should be available on demand, I’m relieved to hear it said that there are other responses available. Me, I’d always thought the only choice when faced with an unwanted pregnancy was either have an abortion or take the pregnancy to term and give birth, regardless of the physical and mental risks and the long-term consequences. It’s good to know that there’s a better way. I only wish the anti-choicers would explain to us what it actually is.

I get the impression, from the language used, that there’s a new form of pregnancy that’s been developed, whereby rather than foetuses (inside and dependent on another’s body) we have “unborn” people (just the same as other people, only these ones haven’t been through the abstract rite of passage known as “being born”). Don’t ask me the details, mind. I don’t know where the unborn live while they’re waiting to be born. For some reason I’m picturing some kind of underground dwelling, where they’re housed in little breeding pods (a bit like women, but without those annoying personhood and bodily integrity issues).

Of course, I’ve no idea what happens to the unborn once they become the born. I’m not sure LIFE does, either, or indeed whether anyone cares. In the meantime, though, if there’s a way to save them, let’s do it. The sooner we make these “unborn baby” resources more widely available to actual, living, breathing people, with actual pregnant bodies, the better. In the meantime we’re stuck shaking our heads at the faceless, shameless 33.