The Department of Health (DoH) has claimed there is no need for the government to enshrine protections against sex-selective abortions, as there is little evidence to prove it is taking place.
The 43-page review, called Assessment of termination of pregnancy on grounds of the sex of the foetus: response to Serious Crime Act 2015, explored claims and revelations from across the UK, from charities and medical professionals, that sex-selective abortions were taking place illicitly.
Fiona Bruce MP had called for an amendment in the Serious Crime Act to make this explicitly illegal, but MPs voted instead for the DoH to conduct a review.
The review claims there are no concerns, despite case studies of women’s experiences being submitted to the DoH for consideration. For example, one of many responses from women’s support charity Jeena International, said, ‘G visited India to find out what the sex of her baby was. When finding out it was a girl, she had an abortion.
‘On G’s second pregnancy, she visited a private clinic to determine the sex of the baby she was carrying; on discovering that it was a girl, she informed her GP that she wanted an abortion, as she could not afford to have a baby, and an abortion was offered and carried out.
‘On finding out for the third time G ordered a blood test to determine the sex of the baby; again it was a girl and she visited her GP. An abortion was offered and carried out’.
In her response to the DoH’s findings, Fiona Bruce said, ‘This response by the DoH to the harrowing experiences of women who suffer the pressure to abort their unborn baby girls is disingenuous and unacceptable.
‘All that was necessary was to investigate the stories of those women who have gone through sex-selective abortions — and the groups which support them — and prescribe solutions to the shortcomings in healthcare, culture and law, which lead to this misogynistic practice occurring.
‘We need to listen much more carefully to these women and fix the system and wider culture which is so cruelly failing them and their unborn children’.