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Abortion scandal

November 2013

The chief Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Keir Starmer QC, has confirmed a decision that the state will not prosecute two doctors who carried out an abortion on the grounds of gender.
    In a four-page letter, sent by the DPP on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), to the Rt Hon. Dominic Grieve QC MP, Attorney General, he defended an earlier decision not to bring charges against the two practitioners, following an investigation into claims they aided gender-based abortion.
    His comment that there was not enough evidence seemingly contradicted the initial CPS statement, which suggested prosecution would not be in the public interest.
    His decision, while referring to clarifications by the Department of Health and the British Medical Association that state gender-based abortions are not permissible, did not advocate prosecution of two unnamed doctors.
    The two doctors had been the subject of an undercover sting earlier this year by a Daily Telegraph reporter and her friend, who pretended that she had been told by French doctors that she was having a girl, but wanted a boy.
    In both cases, the doctors found reasons to recommend an abortion, although they stated that foetal gender was not a permissible reason.
    In reaction, 50 MPs have written a joint letter to the Attorney General supporting calls for an urgent review of the decision by the CPS.
    Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said, ‘This response from the DPP shows that the Abortion Act isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. It allows doctors to do whatever they like, “in good faith”.
    ‘It appears there is now no limit on what constitutes a mental health risk to the mother. What if a woman wants a termination because she doesn’t like the skin or eye colour of her child? Where do we draw the line?’
    ‘Mr Starmer’s failure to call the CPS to account takes things to a new low. His refusal to right this wrong means that doctors who agree to arrange illegal sex-selective abortions get off scot free’.

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