MPs: Sex-selective abortion clarity ‘urgently needed’

MPs are to debate sex-selective abortion tomorrow, in a bid to clarify the law on the issue.

Conservative MP Fiona Bruce has tabled a Ten-Minute Rule Bill, with cross-party support, in order to “put beyond doubt” that sex-selective abortion is illegal.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Mrs Bruce said she isn’t seeking to change the law, but to “eradicate any confusion”, as the 1967 Abortion Act “has been pushed way beyond the boundaries”.

Mental health

The law allows abortion in cases where continuing the pregnancy is seen as a greater risk to the mother’s mental or physical health.

Last year, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute two doctors who offered to arrange abortions after being told that the women did not want the baby because of its sex.

The British Medical Association has argued that having a child of a particular sex can affect the mother’s mental health, and may justify an abortion.


Both the Health Secretary and David Cameron declared that sex-selective abortions are illegal, but “women are still coming forward” to say they are happening, Mrs Bruce warned.

Referring to her Bill, she commented: “We want to send out a signal, which I believe will happen with the strength of support I hope to obtain, a signal to anyone who is procuring or providing an abortion on this ground that they must stop, that it is against the law and they risk a criminal conviction.”

“I want to send out a strong signal from Parliament and I also want to ensure that the executive, the Government, receives that message from parliamentarians that we want the Government to apply the law in this case, which requires them to inspect registered providers and ensure they are not carrying out abortions on this ground.”

Great need

Labour MP Rob Flello said there is a “great need” for the Bill.

“The current legal situation is highly ambiguous. It has been said with some justification that in many parts of the world the most dangerous words are ‘It’s a Girl’.”

“Now it seems that sex-selective abortion may be spreading in the UK”, he added.


Writing for Conservative Home, Mrs Bruce said: “We simply cannot have a free-for-all where abortion service providers are free to contradict the Government over a matter as serious as this.”

On the website, users can get in touch with their MP and encourage them to support the Bill.

According to a ComRes poll, 84 per cent of adults agree that sex-selective abortion should be explicitly banned in law.

And 80 per cent support the prosecution of doctors who authorise sex-selective abortion.

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