Gendercide–choosing abortion because of the baby’s gender–could be on its way out of the UK within the next few months after MP’s upheld a parliamentary motion to fast-track a new law last week.
The amendment, which prohibits abortion based on the baby’s gender, was signed by more than 70 MP’s. If passed, the amendment will be added to the Government’s Serious Crime Bill by May 2015.
The proposed law would mean that doctors who commit gendercide can be prosecuted.
Conservative member Fiona Bruce is one of the main supporters of the amendment. She related in The Daily Telegraph that the Government has shown a lack of interest in this issue, claiming that the coalition Government “persistently denied” that sex selective abortions were happening in the UK. Referring to the statistical analysis that the Government used to back up its claims, Bruce said:
“The Government statistics do not reflect the reality. And the reality is that sex-selective abortion is happening in the UK.
“We know this partly because UK women are coming forward in increasing numbers to tell their stories, and partly due to the existence of authoritative, peer-reviewed research which has found evidence of sex imbalances in birth ratios in some UK populations—most notably a paper authored by Dr Sylvie Dubuc of the University of Oxford which dug deep into the data and found strong circumstantial evidence that sex-selective abortions were common in certain communities.”
The head of Jeena International, which works with women who have been forced into sex selective abortions, said that “saying that there is no evidence is tantamount to saying that the women we work with are lying and that my organisation is making things up.”
Despite her disappointment with the Government, Bruce believes, as with issues like FGM and forced marriages, the issue of sex-selective abortions will also be addressed by the Government.
At the end of her letter to the Telegraph, Bruce asserted:
“The time has come to face up to the truth. Sex-selective abortion is a reality in the UK.
We can no longer ignore it. I do not pretend that my amendment can solve the problem of son-preference all on its own, but I know that it is a big step in the right direction. It is my hope that my colleagues in the Commons will agree that urgent action needs to be taken and vote in favour of my amendment when the time comes.”
And although we in the pro-life movement know it’s nowhere near enough to stop gender-based abortions—because every unborn child is equally valuable, regardless of the reason for abortion—we can also be confident that saving a few babies from death is the goal of the U.K. amendment.
“It’s a goal we can wholeheartedly support.”
Opponents of the Bill claim it is a way to make abortion less available to women.
Mary Glindon, the Labour MP for North Tyneside, said: “If opposing the abortion of baby girls—often under coercion—makes me anti-choice, then I will wear the label with pride.”
Jasvinder Sanghera, founder and Karma Nirvana, and a spokeswoman for the campaign website stopgendercide.org, added: “Sex-selective abortion is a reality in the UK.
“This is widely known in diaspora communities and beyond.
“The Government has a responsibility both to women suffering under cultural pressures and to their baby girls.”
Controversy erupted last year when a 2012 undercover investigation by The Daily Telegraph revealed that girls were being aborted simply for being girls. Two UK doctors were committing gendercide based on a recording of the doctor agreeing to do this at the parents’ request.
After the Telegraph’s revealing investigation, Aisling Hubert, backed by the Christian Legal Centre, launched her campaign for action.
Dr Palaniappan Rajmohan received a summons from Birmingham magistrates allowing the case on Monday.
He is accused, along with Dr Prabhan Sivaraman, of a conspiracy to use poison to procure abortions. This act goes against the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
Despite the nature of this case, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was asked by Sivaraman’s lawyers to take over and drop the case.
The CPS concluded in 2013 that there was enough evidence to convict Dr Sivaraman, but they decided not to prosecute because it was “not in the public interest.”
Hubert began her private prosecution because of the CPS’ unwillingness to prosecute. She is “pleased that the case will now go to the Crown Court.” She emphasized that the case must continue, if only for the sake of the baby girls whose lives are in danger.
Dr Sivaraman will appear before the Manchester Crown Court for a plea and case management hearing on 6 February. Dr Rajmohan is due to appear for the same type of hearing at Birmingham Crown Court on 21 May.
Both doctors are banned from performing abortions while their eligibility to practice is investigated by the General Medical Council.
In November 2014, MP’s backed a Bill introduced by Fiona Bruce to make gender selective abortion illegal in one of the most overwhelming majorities ever seen in the Commons.
Unfortunately, the vote has no legal force. It was simply clarifying that the practice of gendercide is unacceptable. This was in response to The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), the UK’s largest abortion provider, who “maintains that gender abortion is not illegal under the 1967 Abortion Act and that the law is ‘silent’ on the subject.”
However, this Parliamentary move would make sex selective abortion illegal because it would add a clause to the Serious Crime Bill and eliminate any uncertainty over the legality of the practice.
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