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Overwhelming public support for ban on 'gender-abortion', as Bill comes to Parliament

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Issued by Christian Concern
 

News Release

For immediate release
02 November 2014
 

 

Overwhelming public support for ban on 'gender-abortion', as Bill comes to Parliament

 

  • 84% agree that 'aborting babies because of their gender should explicitly be banned by law.'
  • 80% agree that 'where it can be proved that an abortion was authorised on grounds of the baby's gender, the doctor authorising that abortion should be prosecuted.'
  • Bill due in Parliament on Tuesday to confirm that abortion on grounds of gender is illegal.
  • Rare private prosecution launched last week against two doctors who were willing to carry out 'sex-selective' abortions.


More than four out of every five adults (84%) agree that 'aborting babies because of their gender should explicitly be banned by law' according to a new opinion poll published today.

The news comes as MPs prepare to debate a Bill on Tuesday confirming that 'sex-selective' abortion is illegal.

The Abortion (Sex-Selection) Bill is being introduced by Fiona Bruce MP and seeks to confirm that the law prohibits abortion on the grounds of gender.
 

Prosecution of doctors

The ComRes poll, commissioned by Christian Concern, also found that four out of five adults (80%) agree that 'where it can be proved that an abortion was authorised on grounds of the baby's gender, the doctor authorising that abortion should be prosecuted.'

Last week, it was revealed that 21 year old Aisling Hubert is pursuing a rare private prosecution of two doctors who were exposed by a national newspaper of being willing to offer abortion on grounds of gender. She is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre.

Her action followed a refusal by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to press charges. The CPS concluded that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the doctors - but then claimed that to do so would not be in the public interest.

At the time, the failure to prosecute provoked cross-party concern. The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said: "This is a concerning development and I have written to the Attorney General to ask for urgent clarification on the grounds for this decision."

Labour's Shadow Attorney General, Emily Thornberry, wrote to the Director Public Prosecutions (DPP), saying: "As you will know, the GMC is a regulator and cannot bring criminal proceedings. The provisions of the Abortion Act 1967 are crystal clear. The conduct of abortions for reasons not stated in that Act is a criminal offence, not just a regulatory one. To decide not [to] prosecute because a regulator can hear the matter instead is to disapply the law and undermine the will of Parliament. "

Liberal Democrat Peer and former DPP, Lord Macdonald described the decision as "very dubious" and said that it risked "undermining the principle that everyone is equal under the law."


Law disputed

In March 2014, the Prime Minister told the House of Commons: "The Government have made clear that abortion on the grounds of gender alone is illegal. The chief medical officer wrote to all doctors on 22 November last year reminding them of their responsibilities." (1)

However, the British Medical Association suggests that there are circumstances where abortion on the grounds of gender would be permissible under the Act (2).

Meanwhile, BPAS, the UK's largest abortion provider, in guidance still available on its website, says that 'abortion on grounds of fetal sex' is not illegal, claiming that "the law is silent on the matter."(3)
 

'An appalling practice'

Andrea Minichiello Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Concern which commissioned the poll, responded to the results, saying:

"'Gender-abortion' is an appalling practice and, as this poll shows, the British public is firmly opposed to it. On Tuesday, Parliament must send a clear signal that it is illegal, whilst those doctors who have already offered it must be held to account. They have betrayed the trust placed in them and if the law is to protect, it must be enforced.

"'Gender-abortion' strikes at the heart of our common humanity. This practice should be stopped by the full force of the law. Now."

 

ENDS

 

Notes for editors:

 

The ComRes poll was commissioned by Christian Concern - www.christianconcern.com

More information about the private prosecution is available here:
www.christianconcern.com/our-concerns/abortion/private-prosecution-of-gender-selection-abortion-doctors

ComRes interviewed 2,004 GB adults online between 24th and 26th October 2014. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adutls aged 18+. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

Data tables available at: www.comres.co.uk

 

References: 

(1) Prime Minister, House of Commons, Official Record, 17 March 2014

(2) British Medical Association, Press Release, 27 May 2014: ‘We recognise that in some cases doctors may come to the conclusion that the effects of having a child of a particular gender are so severe to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman as to provide legal and ethical justification for an abortion’ - available here.

(3) BPAS, Britain’s Abortion Law What it says and Why, 2012 (p8): "Is abortion for reasons of fetal sex illegal under the Abortion Act? No. The law is silent on the matter" - available here.


 

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