The Telegraph 2 November 2014
Abortion on grounds of gender is expected to be declared illegal by Parliament this week, as a cross-party alliance of MPs steps in hoping to end uncertainty over whether doctors can be prosecuted for the practice.
Confusion over the law was exposed last year by the decision of the then Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Keir Starmer, not to bring charges against two doctors caught on camera agreeing to arrange abortions of baby girls purely because of their sex, in a Telegraph investigation.
The case was investigated by Scotland Yard and passed on to the Crown Prosecution Service which said that although there was enough evidence, it was not in the “public interest” to bring charges.
But Sir Keir later issued a detailed explanation pointing out that the law “does not, in terms, expressly prohibit gender-specific abortions”. He said doctors have “wide discretion” in assessing whether continuing the pregnancy could threaten the physical or mental health of the mother or her existing children.
Ministers, including the Prime Minister, have repeatedly insisted that abortion on grounds of gender is illegal but guidance from the British Medical Association says that there could be circumstances in which terminating a pregnancy because of the gender of the foetus “would be lawful”.
Crucially, the UK’s biggest abortion provider, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Bpas), has repeatedly insisted that gender abortion is not illegal under the 1967 Abortion Act and that the law is “silent” on the subject.
A short bill, backed by a cross-party alliance of female MPs, is to be debated by MPs on Tuesday, stating simply that nothing in the 1967 Abortion Act permits terminations on grounds of gender. It adds that this does not, however, prevent doctors stepping in in the case of severe medical conditions linked to gender.
UK MPs vote overwhelmingly to ban sex-selective abortion
LifeSiteNews 4 November 2014
A vote in the British Parliament this morning saw an almost complete majority favor a motion declaring that sex-selection abortion is illegal.
The vote of 181 to 1 for the Abortion (Sex-Selection) Bill tabled by pro-life Conservative MP Fiona Bruce will now go to second reading in January.
Bruce tabled the bill in an effort to end confusion over the legal status of sex-selective abortion in the UK.
“It is a shame that this clarification is needed. Successive health ministers and even the Prime Minister have been very clear … that abortion for reasons of gender alone is illegal. The Prime Minister has described the practice as appalling but they are being ignored,” Bruce told the Commons.