United Kingdom: a debate on gender-selection abortions

Publié le 31 Mar, 2017

Professor of Obstetrics, Wendy Savage, has declared that women should be informed of the sex of the foetus when they have an ultrasound scan. She believes that retaining information “for fear of gender-selection abortions” is “scandalous”. 81 year-old Wendy Savage is a retired gynaecologist/obstetrician and member of the British Medical Association Ethics Committee. She has expressed her personal views on the matter.


Women have “the right to know” and the “right to decide”. “If a woman would prefer to have a baby of one sex rather than the other, forcing her to go through with the pregnancy is neither good for the child nor for the mother’s mental health”, she added.


Wendy Savage voiced her opinion following the decriminalisation of abortion by the British Parliament (see Abortion decriminalised in the United Kingdom). Her position became clear as the Nuffield Council on Bioethics expressed its fears about spin-offs of non-invasive prenatal screening (see United Kingdom and NIPS: Council on Bioethics expresses fears on spin-offs) in relation to gender-selection abortions.


Currently, in the United Kingdom, some hospitals refuse to reveal the sex of the foetus when carrying out an ultrasound scan at around the 20th week of pregnancy[1]. According to these hospitals, this is due to a shortage of staff and the reliability of the information.


[1] Abortion is possible in the United Kingdom up to the 24th week of pregnancy.

BBC (19/03/2017)

Share this post

For further