Amid cries of opposition by Britain’s abortion industry, Parliament affirmed Tuesday –almost unanimously– that gendercide abortions are illegal in the UK. The bill to clarify the UK’s law regarding sex-selection abortions was presented by MP Fiona Bruce, who stated last Wednesday:
It is now clear that urgent clarification is needed to put beyond doubt that sex-selective abortion is not permitted in UK law. That is the central purpose of this Bill.
The 1967 Abortion Act is vague and broad about the circumstances under which a woman can legally undergo an abortion in the UK, but one thing is clear: it has no provision for aborting a baby strictly because of its sex.
The Act allows abortion for the elusive reason that to not terminate the pregnancy would be detrimental to the “physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.” Abortion proponents have argued that a mother’s mental health could be affected if her male gender preference (or that of her partner) is dashed by the news that she carries a female baby. Bruce goes on to explain how this mental health provision has led to perceived ambiguity in regards to gendercide:
The law does not say what kinds of mental health risks might justify an abortion. This section (under which 98 per cent of all abortions are registered) has been interpreted so liberally over the last 40 years that some believe that having a baby of a particular gender may constitute a mental health risk.
The British Medical Association (BMA), on the other hand, posited that sex-selection abortion was legal by default, since the Act does not explicitly ban the practice. The November 2007 issue of BMA Views included an article entitled, The law and ethics of abortion, which states that:
Fetal sex is not one of the criteria for abortion listed in
the Abortion Act of 1967 and therefore termination on
this ground alone has been challenged as outwith the
law. There may be circumstances, however, in which
termination of pregnancy on grounds of fetal sex would
For Prime Minister David Cameron, there was never any ambiguity about the law’s prohibition of gendercide. In 2013 he stated:
Let’s be clear that abortion on the basis of the child’s sex are wrong and illegal in our country. And I think the Daily Telegraph is to be commended for the campaign and the work that they have done to highlight this important case.
In 2012, the UK’s The Daily Telegraph discovered — via an undercover investigation — that gendercide abortions were much more common than most people realized. Since that time, steps towards yesterday’s vote were taken to protect female abortion victims singled out solely on the basis of their sex.
What should come as further good news to those on this side of the Pond is that some critics are blaming the US for this pro-life leap in the UK (emphasis added):
You see [the] bill uses the language of women’s liberation whilst aiming to restrict women’s bodily autonomy. Its motives are sinister. Taking cues from the United States, the British anti-choice lobby is becoming increasingly creative in its strategies to restrict women’s reproductive rights.