13 SEPTEMBER 1975, Page 4

Manipulated fetuses

From Lord Houghton of Sower-by' Sir: The six aborted fetuses in the propaganda advertisement you publish from LIFE (August 30) first appeared in The Spectator four years ago, on August 14, 1971, and was subsequently reproduced in leaflet form and sent to all MPs. I was then one of them. The same advertisement appears in a, booklet, "What's Wrong with Abortion?", by LIFE's chairman, Professor J. J. Scansbrick, where he states: "These six unborn children were killed 7 quite legally, thanks to the 1967 Abortion Act — in a hospital in the Midlands in early 1971. The smallest was about 9 weeks

old, the others between about 15 and 22 weeks."

Today's grouping is different but there is no mistaking that they are the same six. What has materially changed are their estimated ages, except for the youngest which has stayed at 9 weeks. The eldest has aged three weeks (from22 to 25 weeks), and the rest have grown younger (from "between about 15 and 22 weeks" to "between about 13 and 16 weeks").

It may be argued that these discrepancies in no way affect the main issue of whether the 1967 Abortion Act (which LIFE aims to repeal) '.'has increased the sum of human happiness, and I happen to believe that it has. But I do wonder why it has been considered necessary to manipulate the gestational

ages of these six fetuses.

If your readers are to see any repeat of this advertisement could we be told something of the grounds upon which the abortions took place?

Douglas Houghton 110 Marsham Court, London SW1