Sex-selection abortions and gendercide are concepts that are usually equated with countries like China or India, not England. But sex-selective abortions are happening in the United Kingdom. Baroness Knight of Collingtree brought the matter to the attention of the House of Lords last Thursday:
I have checked the Act a number of times and all the amendments very carefully. There are no such words or clarity in the whole lot of them. It would amaze me if there had been, for none of us dreamed then that it would become possible to know the sex of an unborn child. The noble Lord, Lord Steel, would never have sanctioned gender abortions.
Abortion law surely lacks clarity on matters that need to be clear. Furthermore, it suffers from those who play with words to the extent that it permits terminations that were never intended to be legal.
Baroness Knight also spoke of the frequency at which the Abortion Act is broken:
The Abortion Act is four pages long and contains only seven sections. At least four seem to be broken regularly, yet it is impossible to get details of investigations into this law-breaking or about any resulting prosecutions.
Lord Gordon of Strathblane followed Baroness Knight, encouraging the House of Lords to find common ground on this issue:
Discussion is polarised between those who regard abortion as a form of retrospective birth control and those on the other side who regard it as a form of anticipatory infanticide—and never the two find common ground. I hope that today might be an exception, because I think we are all united that abortion for gender selection reasons is wrong—the question is what we do about it.
According to Lord Patten, Chancellor of the University of Oxford and chairman of the BBC trust:
[A]llowing sex-selective abortion would mean that the UK was sleep-walking into a full-blown eugenic society, flying full into the face of humanity and the gift of life. Gender-selective abortion, which is highly discriminatory against females, is not prohibited by any Act or any other legislative instrument…
The question now remains as to what steps will be taken to ensure that gendercide is outlawed in the United Kingdom.