"Who carries the greatest responsibility for the deaths of unborn children in this country? I accuse the leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales, His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. I charge that he is partly to blame for our abnormally high abortion rate.
A study published in the Lancet shows that between 1995 and 2003, the global rate of induced abortions fell from 35 per 1,000 women each year to 29. This period coincides with the rise of the "globalised secular culture" the Pope laments. When the figures are broken down, it becomes clear that, apart from the former Soviet Union, abortion is highest in conservative and religious societies. In largely secular western Europe, the average rate is 12 abortions per 1,000 women. In the more religious southern European countries, the average rate is 18. In the US, where church attendance is still higher, there are 23 abortions for every 1,000 women, the highest level in the rich world. In central and South America, where the Catholic church holds greatest sway, the rates are 25 and 33 respectively. In the very conservative societies of east Africa, it's 39. One abnormal outlier is the UK: our rate is six points higher than that of our western European neighbours.
When the Pope tells bishops in Kenya - the global centre of this crisis - that they should defend traditional family values "at all costs" against agencies offering safe abortions, or when he travels to Brazil to denounce its contraceptive programme, he condemns women to death."
George Monbiot, Guardian, February 26 2008