Guest Column

Bill to ban sex-selective abortion introduced to New South Wales Parliament

Australia, New South Wales

(Right to Life UK) A new Bill is being introduced to the Parliament of the Australian state of New South Wales, which seeks to make sex-selective abortion illegal.

The Bill, introduced by Fred Nile MLC in November, would amend the Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 to prohibit abortion on the grounds of the child’s sex. Additionally, it would make the use of assisted reproductive technology for sex-selection purposes illegal.

Mr Nile emphasised “that the bill does not eliminate abortion as a whole. It seeks to eliminate the practice of aborting unborn children on the grounds of their sex”.

He went on to say that the Bill would penalise doctors who break the law and perform abortions on the grounds of the sex of the child.

Drawing attention to the practice of infanticide in some regions of the globe if the child is a girl, Mr Nile claimed that “in the First World we are no better”. He called on other MLCs to vote for his Bill “For the sake of unborn girls”.

Nile argued that while some Parliament members had denied the existence of the problem, the Review of pregnancy for the purpose of sex-selection in NSW published in December 2020 outlines that thirteen notifications of termination of pregnancy indicated that they were for the sole purpose of sex selection.

READ: Australian state of New South Wales looks to legalize abortion until birth

Noting the problem, Mr Niles said: “This is real, and it is happening today in New South Wales”.

In 2019 two MPs received death threats for voting against a law that would permit sex-selective abortion.

Sex-selective abortion –  global crisis

A new global modelling of birth rates has estimated that 22 million girls could be ‘missing’ from the global population by 2100.

The report, published by leading medical journal ‘BMJ Global Health’, used over three billion birth records from 204 countries.

Sex-selective abortion is a well-documented issue around the world, resulting in highly skewed sex ratios. Since amending its abortion law in 1998, sex-selective abortions have become a major issue in Canada.

An article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal describes how “[e]asy access to abortion and advances in prenatal sex determination have combined to make Canada a haven for parents who would terminate female fetuses in favour of having sons”.

Similarly, evidence of sex-selective abortions has been found in the Australian territory of Victoria, which introduced abortion on request in 2008.

China’s “One Child Policy”, which was officially eased in 2015, permitted coerced sterilisation and abortion. Traditional values that favoured male children led to the mass abandonment or infanticide of female babies. Hundreds of millions of forced abortions were performed, sometimes at over eight months gestation. China consequently boasts the world’s most uneven sex ratio at birth of around 114 males born for every 100 females.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “It is an indication of how ideologically committed to abortion our leaders are that a very moderate bill that intends to prohibit abortion on the grounds of sex is considered so controversial and will likely have such difficulty passing”.

“Those who oppose this Bill downplay or deny the extent of the problem. In which case, then, there is even less reason not to make it illegal. Either it is a problem and making it illegal will help to curb the problem, or it is not a problem and making it illegal will change very little. In either case though, an explicit prohibition in the law against abortion on the grounds of sex alone is certainly a good thing”.

Editor’s Note: This article was published at Right to Life UK and is reprinted here with permission.

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