A British government minister has promised to be “vigilant” in investigating whether sex-selective abortions are taking place in the UK. Earl Howe said he would look into the ratio of boys and girls born in Britain after peers raised concerns that girls were being aborted purely on their gender.
Earlier this year, the Independent reported that abortion on the grounds on gender is “now so commonplace that it has affected the natural 50:50 balance of boys to girls within some immigrant groups and has led to the ‘disappearance’ of between 1,400 and 4,700 females from the national census records of England and Wales.”
The House of Lords debated the issue last Thursday, with concerned peers asking the government whether it was doing enough to investigate the practice and prosecute offenders.
Earl Howe, who serves as a minister in the Department for Health, said the government will “monitor the situation” and “remain vigilant”. He said that while the ratio of boys born compared to girls remains “within normal limits”, he is aware of evidence of sex-selective abortions taking place.
He added: “I am also aware that some individuals and organisations have offered anecdotal evidence of gender-selective abortions taking place. I urge anyone who thinks that the law may be being broken to contact the police with their evidence.”
“We are not complacent on these issues. We remain and will continue to be very vigilant,” the minister said.
Speaking during a debate, Conservative peer Baroness Knight of Collingtree said that the four sections of the 1967 Abortion Act “seem to be broken regularly, yet it is impossible to get details of investigations into this law-breaking or about any resulting prosecutions.”
Former Conservative Education Secretary John Patten added that “allowing sex-selective abortion would mean that the UK was sleep-walking into a full-blown eugenic society, flying full into the face of humanity and the gift of life.” He said that it is currently not clear that sex-selective abortions are illegal, and called for the law to be updated.
Although technically illegal, abortion on the grounds of gender is difficult to prove. Britain’s relatively liberal abortion laws make it difficult for anything suspect to come to light unless a doctor is caught offering a termination on those grounds alone.
Executive Officer of Right to Life, Peter D Williams, told Breitbart London: “We welcome reports of the decision by Earl Howe to have the possibility of sex-selective abortion in the UK further investigated.
“Not only have the Prime Minister and the Department of Health asserted that such actions constitute an illegal transgression of the conditions of the 1967 Act, but as medical practice they also represent yet another appallingly discriminatory and eugenic injustice in the abortion industry.
“We call on the Government to work vigilantly to prevent, and also to properly prosecute, any abuses and contraventions of the law in this area.”