British Govt: Prosecuting Sex-Selection Abortions Not in the “Public Interest”

International   |   Dave Andrusko   |   Dec 3, 2013   |   5:07PM   |   London, England

The battle over sex-selection abortion in Great Britain continues unabated and as confusing as ever.

Last week, in a letter to doctors, the Health Minister said they will be issuing “urgent” guidelines following the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) not to prosecute two abortionists who were willing to abort female babies–not because there wasn’t sufficient evidence, but because prosecution would not be in the “public interest.”

This conclusion followed a 19-month investigation spurred by the uncover work of Daily Telegraph demonstrated beyond dispute that there are abortionists in England who will abort a child because the mother says she does not want a girl. (See “In wake of scandal over sex-selection abortion in Great Britain pro-abortionists write to defend the practice.”

Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer, wrote to GPs and hospitals, “The law is clear that termination of a pregnancy on the grounds of gender alone is illegal and the CPS decision does not alter that.”

But as Hilary White observes, “The letter seems to directly contradict a decision, announced on September 4th by Keir Starmer, head of the CPS, that there would be no charges brought against two doctors who had been caught in a sting by the Daily Telegraph newspaper approving abortions only because the babies were girls. The CPS, after an investigation in the case, said that although there was enough evidence to prosecute the doctors, it would not be ‘in the best interests’ of the public to do so.”

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, writing in a previous letter to the attorney general, Dominic Grieve, had asked for urgent clarification on the issue.

According to the Guardian, “As a result, doctors will receive fresh guidelines making it clear that if there is ‘evidence that a certifying doctor has not formed an opinion in good faith, then the doctor performing the termination is not protected by the act and has potentially committed a criminal offence by terminating the pregnancy.’”

Under the 1967 Abortion Act, abortion is legal when two doctors agree that “the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, to the physical or mental health of the woman or any existing children of her family.” Pro-abortionists state flatly since that does not explicitly outlaw sex-selection abortions, they are legal. Pro-lifers worry that the law has been so abused that prosecutions may be very difficult.

According to White

“Starmer recently defended the decision not to prosecute against the outcry, saying that in some cases refusing abortion for the sex of the child could constitute a threat to the mother’s ‘mental health.’ ‘The law does not, in terms, expressly prohibit gender-specific abortions,’ Starmer said. ‘Rather, it prohibits any abortion carried out without two medical practitioners having formed a view, in good faith, that the health risks of continuing with a pregnancy outweigh those of termination.’

“This statement was supported by one from the British Medical Association that said, ‘There may be circumstances in which termination of pregnancy on grounds of fetal sex would be lawful.’ Previous guidance from the BMA, however, says it is’“normally unethical’ to abort only for the child’s sex ‘except in cases of severe sex-linked disorders.’”

In October Jack Scarisbrick, of LIFE, said the 1967 Abortion Act should be the subject of an immediate inquiry by the Department of Health and the CPS. “The mental health clause amounts to abortion on demand,” he told columnist Chris Pleasance. “Why has the Department of Health not stamped out the conveyor-belting of women through the abortion clinics?”



He described abortion in Britain as a ‘runaway bus’, asking: “How else could gender-selection abortion – aborting unborn girls simply because they are female – be potentially widely available in abortion clinics across the country?” Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared in his National Right to Life News Today —- an online column on pro-life issues.

Image credit: Women’s Rights Without Frontiers “Save a Girl” Campaign