Sweden National Board of Health Rules Sex-Selection Abortions Not Illegal

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 12, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Sweden National Board of Health Rules Sex-Selection Abortions Not Illegal

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 12
, 2009

Stockholm, Sweden (LifeNews.com) — The National Board of Health and Welfare in Sweden has ruled that sex-selection abortions are not illegal despite evidence that they are happening. Doctors at one hospital reported a case and some reports indicate women from Norway are going to Sweden for sex-selection abortions.

The board ruled that current national law in Sweden does not prohibit abortions based on the gender of the unborn child and, as a result, they can’t be stopped.

According to a report in The Local newspaper, a woman in February went to the Mälaren Hospital and said she already had two girls and did not want a third. Pregnant, the woman received a an amniocentesis to check on whether the baby would have any disabilities and she also asked to learn the gender.

Doctors expressed their concerns to the board to craft guidelines for how to handle future cases and Sveriges Television indicates it said sex-selection abortions are allowed up to 18 weeks into the pregnancy.

In March, the Local newspaper indicated that, since gender-based abortions are against the law in Norway, some pregnant Norwegian women who are not happy with the sex of their baby are going to Sweden to have the child aborted.

This poorly kept secret has entered the public spectrum from new details that were uncovered by a medical ethics consultant based in Oslo.

“We know that it happens as people have told us,” said director Sissel Rogne at the Biotechnology Advisory Board to the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.

These cross-border abortions are a well known fact confirmed by doctors in Sweden, such as Lars Hamberger who works in Gothenburg.

Some are reportedly sympathetic to the plight of the pregnant women, many of whom come from ethnic minority backgrounds.

“If they have three, four girls and are from Turkey the demands on them to produce a boy are strong,” Hamberger stated.

Norway has a ban in place that prohibits identifying the gender of their unborn child before 12 weeks of pregnancy. Both Norway and Denmark will not allow an abortion after 12 weeks, but in Sweden the limit is 18 weeks so many women simply cross the border if the gender of their unborn child is supposedly the wrong one.

Sex-selection abortions are a common problem in Asian nations like India and China, but the phenomenon is reportedly spreading to other continents, perhaps including the United States.

Researchers Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund published a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences saying that, even though the practice of sex-selection abortions is most commonly associated with the cultural mores of Asian nations like China or India, it is happening locally.

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