Selective abortions in GB: the Government commits itself to specifying the terms of the law

Publié le : 25 October 2013

 Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, who did not wish to prosecute the two British doctors who agreed to carry out gender selective abortions, (Gènéthique press review on September 9th, 2013) has explained his decision. He referred to the considerable lack of precision in the Abortion Act which, in its current format, does not explicitly prohibit abortions based on the gender of the unborn child. He added that, "Although the gender-selective abortion of girls may seem appalling, this practice may be necessary in order safeguard the mother’s health".             

At the same time, Chief Medical Officer, Sally Davies, has written a letter of intent to all GPs in Britain in order to clarify the Government’s often unfavourable position regarding selective abortions and to remind doctors of their ethical obligations. In fact, in Great Britain, two doctors are required to certify that a woman is fully aware of the risks associated with an abortion. The law does not impose a personal interview but the pre-signing of forms has become general practice in the country and Sally Davies confirms that this is illegal. Moreover, according to a spokesperson for the Ministry for Health: "We are taking this matter extremely seriously and plan to issue directives" following discussions with medical professionals.

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