Aborting a child because it is the ‘wrong sex’ could be in the best interests of the child, as well as the mother, according to a Professor who sits on a leading ethics panel.
Prof Wendy Savage, who made the comments in an interview with The Mail on Sunday, has faced criticism for the remarks, with one group saying they “have nothing to do with medicine”.
Prof Savage also claimed that an unborn child is “not an actual human life” and that sex selection and post-24 week abortion are ‘myths’ put forward by those who are pro-life.
‘It’s her body’
Prof Savage sits on the British Medical Association’s (BMA) Medical Ethics Committee and works with a pro-abortion group that is seeking to weaken the current law.
Speaking in a personal capacity, she told the newspaper it was “outrageous” that some hospitals decline to tell women the sex of their baby.
“It’s her body and her foetus, so she should have that information”, she said, remarking: “If a woman does not want to have a foetus who is one sex or the other, forcing her is not going to be good for the eventual child, and it’s not going to be good for her mental health.”
‘Not actual life’
Stating that the woman “is the one taking the risks” in abortion, she reiterated her view that abortion should be allowed at any point, and simply be seen as another medical operation.
Currently it is legal in Great Britain to abort unborn children up to 24 weeks, or up to birth if doctors believe the baby will be born with a disability.
Prof Savage, a former obstetrician, claimed: “The foetus of course is a potential human life” in the womb, “it is not an actual human life”.
Over the course of her career, she claimed she had only dealt with a tiny number of women wanting an abortion after 24 weeks.
“So it’s not something that women tend to do”, she said.
“This is another of these myths propagated by the anti-abortion lobby, like women wanting sex selection.”
However more than 200 babies were aborted after the 24-week limit in 2015, according to official figures for residents of England and Wales. Most of these were on the grounds of disability.
Responding to Prof Savage’s comments, Mark Field MP said: “Suggesting that women should be able to abort babies solely because they happen to be either male or, much more usually, female, is utterly abhorrent.”
Pro-life group the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children also spoke out: “Such views have nothing to do with medicine, the care of mothers or concern for the sanctity of life”.
The BMA stated that it supports the current law on abortion and advises members to “act within the boundaries of the law and their own conscience”.