A columnist has said evidence of sex-selective abortions taking place in England shouldn’t be surprising because they are the legacy of legislation which allows for abortion on demand.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Dominic Lawson said that when David Steel’s Act was going through Parliament in 1967, MPs who opposed it repeatedly said that the ‘social’ clause — allowing abortions under mental health grounds — was “indistinguishable in practice” from abortion on demand.
But the Department of Health says gender abortions are illegal.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the practice is “against the law and completely unacceptable” in the wake of the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision last year not to charge two doctors who approved sex-selective abortions.
In his article Mr Lawson said abortion has become an “everyday medical rubber-stamping exercise”.
Mr Lawson also highlighted the hypocrisy of feminists who are in favour of abortion, but not if it is carried out because the baby is female.
He said they argue that a baby has “no moral status during the temporary period of total dependency on the mother” – but if so, “why should one reason for termination be any more legal or illegal than another?”
He also said there is “strong reason” to think that gender abortion is allowed in this country, having looked at British Medical Association guidelines.
They state that a doctor “must not imply or express disapproval of the patient’s lifestyle, choices or beliefs” and that while it would normally be unethical to abort a pregnancy on grounds of gender alone, “the pregnant woman’s views about the effect of the sex of the foetus on her situation should nevertheless be carefully considered”.
But the Department of Health has said: “Abortion on the grounds of sex selection is against the law and completely unacceptable.”
New figures from a newspaper investigation show that 4,700 girls may have been ‘illegally’ aborted on the grounds of sex in ethnic minority communities – Mr Lawson said we are seeing here “an echo of the much wider ‘gendercide'” taking place in other countries.
Last week, The Independent revealed the analysis of 2011 National Census figures which demonstrated a trend within some immigrant groups for ‘accepting’ a female firstborn, but for a disproportionately high number of second babies being male.
Dr Christoforos Anagnostopoulos, a lecturer in statistics at Imperial College London said: “The only readily available explanation that is consistent with a statistically significant gender shift of the sort observed in the census data is gender-selective abortion.”