Ethics & Morality

Amendment to Serious Crime Bill could abolish sex-selective abortion

Last November, MPs voted by 181:1 in favour of Fiona Bruce’s Abortion (Sex-Selection) Bill, the aim of which was to clarify the Abortion Act 1967 and specifically outlaw abortion on the grounds of foetal absence of the Y-chromosome. You would think that this virtual Commons unanimity might guarantee the Bill safe passage onto the statute books, but it appears that the views of the one MP who voted against (Labour’s Glenda Jackson MP) are so entrenched in our abortion culture that there is little appetite on either front bench to guarantee sufficient parliamentary time – either before or after the General Election. Thus the women who are silenced will remain so. Those that have no choice will continue to have none. Those ethnic minorities who are subject to subtle coercion and physical abuse will continue to be so. Glenda Jackson would have it no other way.

While the Prime Minister and Department of Health are clear that “abortion on the grounds of gender alone is illegal”, they are flatly contradicted by the British Medical Association and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, who between them represent the vast majority of those who work in the sector. This is despite numerous clear ministerial statements and new Government guidance reiterating the illegality of the practice. The Government’s view is therefore reduced to mere interpretation.

The Serious Crime Bill currently making its way through Parliament seeks to outlaw Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) – a manifest gender-specific mutilation which enlightened society must repudiate and eradicate. The Bill thereby offers a creative opportunity in which sex-selective abortion – the manifestly discriminatory destruction of baby girls – might also be eradicated. After all, why should Parliament be concerned to protect female genitalia in esse if the possession of such genitalia in utero might be considered acceptable if not lawful grounds for termination?

At the conclusion of the Committee Stage of the Serious Crime Bill, Fiona Bruce MP tabled an amendment which is based upon her Abortion (Sex-Selection) Ten Minute Rule Bill. In total, 73 MPs have signed this amendment. It concerns Part 5 Section 65 of the Bill (which deals with crimes which have a disproportionate effect on girls), clarifying succinctly that: “Nothing in Section 1 of the Abortion Act 1967 allows a pregnancy to be terminated on the grounds of the sex of the unborn child.” If this amendment is selected for debate at Report Stage in February, the Abortion (Sex-Selection) Amendment will be voted upon. If it wins the vote, it will become law when the Serious Crime Bill passes Third Reading. Speaking about the amendment, Fiona Bruce said:

“The amendment has two aims. First to oblige the Government to think of ways to support women who are under pressure to abort on grounds of the sex of their baby. Second, to consolidate current law, which is necessary to prevent false information being distributed to women. Still today, BPAS, Britain’s biggest abortion provider, insists that sex-selective abortion is not illegal. We must battle the prejudices which give rise to the abhorrent practice of sex-selective abortion. It would be wrong to look the other way as women and girls continue to suffer.”

Mary Glindon MP said:

“If opposing the abortion of baby girls – often under coercion – makes me anti-choice, then I will wear the label with pride.”

Jasvinder Sanghera CBE, founder and CEO of Karma Nirvana and spokeswoman for said:

“Sex-selective abortion is a reality in the UK. This is widely known in diaspora communities and beyond. The Government has a responsibility both to women suffering under cultural pressures and to their baby girls.”

FGM is an abhorrent repression of feminine identity, but sex-selective abortion is the first act of violence against females. This amendment is not a matter of ‘Pro-life’ vs ‘Pro-choice’: it is a matter of equality and justice which has united MPs from all parties and, pace Glenda Jackson, affiliated both sides of the House in a common cause. As the Independent notes:

..statistical analysis of data from the 2011 National Census has shown widespread discrepancies in the sex ratio of children in some immigrant families, which can only be easily explained by women choosing to abort female foetuses in the hope of becoming quickly pregnant again with a boy.

Before we permit the cultural norms of the Indian subcontinent to corrupt our understanding of prenatal gender parity with enlightened-sounding practices such as ‘family balancing’, we must consider the pernicious message this sends out not only to our own women, but also to those nations which routinely commit their baby girls to the gutter streams of human excrement to rot with the vomit of depraved humanity.

Please visit to register your support for this crucial amendment, and help to spread the word. Please ask you MP to support it. Time is very much of the essence.