Fiona Bruce MP tabled a Ten Minute Rule Bill seeking to put beyond doubt that sex-selective abortion is not permitted in UK law. It was passed by 181 votes to one.
Glenda Jackson MP voted against the Bill and said that she took a stand because sex selection is already illegal and saw the Bill as being more about ‘undermining the existing abortion laws’. The British Medical Association had said that an abortion on gender grounds could be justified, legally and ethically, on the basis that the sex of the child may severely affect the pregnant woman’s mental health.
In 2012, The Daily Telegraph carried out an investigation which caught two doctors offering abortions to women because they told the doctors their baby was the ‘wrong sex’. The Crown Prosecution Service had stated that it wasn’t in the public interest to pursue a prosecution of the doctors involved in the investigation.
However, a private prosecution has been launched by Aisling Hubert, supported by the Christian Legal Centre. Three expert medical witnesses will support her challenge, including consultants in obstetrics and gynaecology.
In a highly significant development, it was reported on 9 November that a court in Manchester has issued a summons to a doctor accused of offering illegal ‘gender-abortion’. It is believed to be the first time that a case of this kind has come to court in the UK.
Dr Prabha Sivaraman has been summonsed to appear before Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court in December to face a charge of conspiracy to procure an unlawful abortion.