Women in UK ‘legally free to abort child on sex grounds’

The boss of Britain’s largest abortion charity said women are legally free to terminate pregnancies if they are unhappy with the sex of their baby.

A doctor agreeing to an abortion on the grounds of gender would be “breaking the law no more and no less” than one performing the procedure on a rape victim, Ann Furedi, chief executive of British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), said.

Ms Furedi drew both fire and praise from pro-life campaigners who said abortion laws are so wide doctors can virtually justify any reason a woman gives.

She said a woman wanting a boy rather than a girl “seems” consumerist and unethical. She hit out, saying people cannot be pro-choice “except when you don’t like the choice”.

Writing on the Spiked website, she said if doctors decide going through with a pregnancy will damage the expectant mother’s mental health, then abortion is within the law.

“While it is true that the sex of the foetus is not a legal ground for abortion, nor is rape, or incest, or being 13 years old,” she said. “Nor is being homeless, or abandoned, or just feeling there’s no way you can bring a child into the world.

“None of these is grounds for abortion per se, yet they are all reasons why a doctor may believe a woman has met the legal grounds of abortion.”

Doctors sign a legal document to confirm they are acting in good faith — that their honest belief is

a woman meets the legal test because continuation of the pregnancy is likely to damage the woman’s mental or physical health.

“Sex selection, like rape, may not be a ground for abortion, but there is no legal requirement to deny a woman an abortion if she has a sex preference, providing that the legal grounds are still met,” Mrs Furedi wrote.

“The big difference is this: most people who think of themselves as liberal and modern-thinking believe that rape, incest, youth, poverty or even general ‘unwantedness’ are ‘good reasons’ for doctors to approve abortion; and they think ‘sex selection’ is a bad reason, which should be stopped.”

Professor Jack Scarisbrick, chairman of LIFE, likened the abortion industry to a “runaway bus”.

“How else could the chief executive of BPAS, the largest abortion provider in the UK, boast that a woman can have an abortion without her ‘needing to be seen by a doctor’, when the law requires the authorisation of two doctors?”

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