Great Britain: Will the draft law against selective abortion put an end to ambiguity?

Publié le : 4 November 2014

In Great Britain, an interparty alliance comprising 11 female MPs has been created in order to clarify abortion legislation. They have introduced a draft law intended to expressly prohibit gender selective abortions, “the first discrimination” against women. 

 

This parliamentary initiative was taken on the decision of Public Prosecutor, Sir Keir Starmer, who, last year, did not prosecute two doctors accused of carrying out female selective abortions (Cf. synthèse Gènéthique du 9 septembre 2013). Discussing the reasons behind his decision shortly afterwards, the Public Prosecutor declared that legislation “does not expressly prohibit gender-selective abortions“. He added that doctors have “broad discretionary powers” allowing them to determine whether continuation of pregnancy would threaten the physical or mental health of the mother or other children.

 

According to the guidelines given by the British Medical Association, there are circumstances in which gender-selective abortion is not illegal. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Bpas) also pointed out that, based on the 1967 Abortion Act, selective abortion is not illegal. However, these 11 MPs have created a draft law (about to be discussed in the Chamber) to amend the Abortion Act and make gender selective abortion illegal.

 

As far as Rani Bilkhu is concerned1 “although this draft law has little chance of being voted in, it should encourage Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt, to ensure that current legislation does not restrict women to aborting only female foetuses.” 

 

Early in 2014, The Independant revealed that Great Britain had 1,400 “missing” women who were not born because of selective abortions.

 

1- Rani Bilkhu is the press officer for the stopgendercide in Great Britain Campaign

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