Abortion Rights Blog

The national pro-choice campaign
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‘Sex selection’ story linked to counselling debate

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The Daily Telegraph has today published the results of an undercover investigation into the availability of abortion on the grounds of sex selection. Reporters visited nine clinics around the country and claim that in three of them doctors were willing to arrange terminations despite being told that it was because of the sex of the foetus. 

Speaking to the Guardian, Abortion Rights campaign co-ordinator Darinka Aleksic said that the criminal practice of a minority should not be used to impose tighter restrictions.

“If it is the case that a doctor has been found to be conducting sex-selective abortions for anything other medical purposes, then they are breaking the law and should be investigated.

“It is absolutely vital that abortion providers adhere stringently to both legal requirements and professional guidelines, so that the public has confidence in the system. But the fact is, abortion is heavily regulated and strictly licensed in this country.

“No doubt anti-choice MPs and campaigners will use these allegations as an excuse to push for ever greater restriction of abortion. It is no surprise this has surfaced at a time when anti-choice politicians are trying to introduce new abortion counselling requirements.”

In fact, the Telegraph explicitly ties its investigation to the counselling debate, despite it having no bearing on the issue of sex selection or gender preference:

“The disclosures will add to growing concerns about the regulation of abortion clinics and the apparent ability of women to secure terminations ‘on demand’.”

It continues: “MPs have raised concerns over the growing commercialisation of abortion clinics and David Cameron and Mr Lansley are under pressure to accept proposals that women should receive independent counselling before a procedure takes place”.

Shadow Health Minister Diane Abbott resigned from the group examining abortion counselling recently, accusing the government of using both the group and the upcoming consultation on the issue as a ‘front’ to push through anti-choice changes to the counselling system.