A new report issued by the British government indicates that illegal sex-selection abortions may be taking place within immigrant communities in the UK. Government ministers have admitted this after a survey of new birth figures.
Sec-selection abortion is an epidemic in nations like China and India, where cultural mores cause citizens to force male babies over females. But with people from those nations and other Asian countries where men are favored moving to nations like Great Britain, they are apparently taking the practice with them and finding abortion practitioners willing to do the abortions.
As the London Telegraph newspaper reports:
A health minister said that these differences in rates of male and female births among mothers of certain nationalities may “fall outside the range considered possible without intervention”.
It forms the first official statistical evidence potentially backing up concerns that sex-selection abortions are being carried out in Britain.
Andrew Lansley, the former health secretary, last year criticized the “illegal and morally wrong” practice following a Daily Telegraph investigation into the issue.
After this newspaper received information that the procedures were becoming increasingly common for cultural and social reasons, undercover reporters filmed doctors offering women terminations based on gender.
Earl Howe, a health minister, disclosed the Government’s preliminary statistics in answer to a parliamentary question by Lord Alton of Liverpool, a crossbench peer and former MP who campaigns against abortion.
“While the overall United Kingdom birth ratio is within normal limits, analysis of birth data for the calendar years from 2007 to 2011 has found the gender ratios at birth vary by mothers’ country of birth,” the Tory minister said.
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“For the majority of groups, this variation is the result of small numbers of births and does not persist between years. However, for a very small number of countries of birth there are indications that birth ratios may differ from the UK as a whole and potentially fall outside of the range considered possible without intervention.”
The investigation is leading the government to consider prosecutions in three cases for which they believe they have enough evidence for a conviction.
Abortions for reasons of the sex of the baby are technically illegal in the UK, which saw 189,574 abortions in England and Wales in 2010.
LIFE spokesperson Anne Scanlan said “We support the request for data to be collected on the sex of unborn babies at the time of abortion because it is important to get an accurate picture of the scale of this problem in Britain. The argument that this cannot be done because of ‘ethical and clinical’ issues begs the question of whether sex-selective abortion is not itself an ethical issue.”
“We object to all direct abortion on principle, but to end a child’s life because they are the ‘wrong’ sex seems particularly unjust. It is also true that eventually sex-selective abortion will lead to serious imbalances in the population. We are already starting to see the consequences of this in China and India, where a huge and growing surplus of young men is causing significant social problems.”
“Cases of sex-selective abortion, and the public uneasiness about the practice, highlight a huge tension in the “pro-choice” position. Pro-choicers who claim to be concerned about this issue have to explain why. The core of the pro-choice argument is that all women have the right to end a pregnancy for whatever reason at any point. On what grounds, then, does someone who describes themself as pro-choice criticise abortion on grounds of the baby’s sex? Similarly, pro-choicers who have no objection to sex-selective abortion are sanctioning and endorsing a deeply discriminatory and intolerant practice.”
“Above all, we must not forget that the statistics on sex-selective abortion represent many individual tragedies for particular women and their families, who feel so constrained by outside pressures and social expectations not to have a girl baby that they end up aborting a child who was actually wanted.”