Overwhelming number of MPs against sex-selective abortion
Wed, 5 Nov 2014
MPs have voted almost unanimously for a motion which would make sex-selective abortion explicitly illegal, after growing concern that the law is unclear.
Fiona Bruce MP yesterday tabled a Bill which passed by 181 votes to one. Mrs Bruce tabled the Ten Minute Rule Bill seeking to put beyond doubt that sex-selective abortion is not permitted in UK law.
In 2012, The Daily Telegraph carried out an investigation which caught two doctors offering abortions to women because they told them their baby was the ‘wrong sex’.
Fiona Bruce told the Commons: “It is a shame that this clarification is needed. Successive health ministers and even the Prime Minister have been very clear on the matter.
“They state that abortion for reasons of gender alone is illegal. The Prime Minister has described the practice as appalling but they are being ignored.”
Mrs Bruce criticised the country’s biggest abortion provider, The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, for failing to say that sex-selective abortions are against the law.
She said: “Even today they are advising women in one of their leaflets and on their website that abortion for reasons of foetal sex is not illegal because the law is silent on the matter.”
The Conservative MP also challenged the British Medical Association on their interpretation of the law.
She added: “They argue that having a child of a particular gender may be a legal and ethical justification for an abortion on the basis that the sex of the child may severely affect the pregnant woman’s mental health.”
Mrs Bruce’s call to stop sex-selective abortion was criticised by pro-abortion sexual health charity Brook, which described the Bill as “anti-choice”.
The former Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Keir Starmer, did not bring charges against the two doctors who were caught offering sex-selective abortions in 2012.
Although there was sufficient evidence, the Crown Prosecution Service said it was not in the “public interest” to bring charges.
Last month, a private prosecution was launched against the two doctors involved.