Sex selection: what Britain’s abortion law really says

Ellie Lee recently commented in “Spiked online” about the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announcement that it was not going to bring criminal charges against two abortion doctors. The doctors had been secretly filmed by pregnant female journalists from the Telegraph who pretended they were seeking an abortion because they did not want to have a baby girl.

Dr Ellie Lee

Ellie Lee

The then secretary of state for health Andrew Lansley demanded action. This prompted the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to do spot checks on all abortion clinics in the country, (an unusual action for the CQC which not only whipped up an unhelpful discussion about procedures in clinics for signing the necessary forms to authorize abortion, but also cost around £1million).

Ellie said “The CPS’s decision not to bring charges against the abortion doctors is merely the latest installment in an 18-month-long saga, one in which abortion providers have been under incredible scrutiny. Throughout, we have been repeatedly told that abortion doctors are out of control and act as if they are above the law.”

“The CPS said that while it would be possible to prosecute the doctors, it was not going to do so, partly on legal grounds and partly on ‘public interest’ grounds. In response, those keen to see the abortion doctors charged have spent the week doing as much as they can to paint a picture of an abortion service that is doing Britain’s women, and the wider society, a disservice. They simply cannot believe the CPS dropped the case” Fanning the flames, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: ‘We are clear that gender selection abortion is against the law and completely unacceptable… [The refusal of the CPS to bring charges] is a concerning development and I have written to the Attorney General to ask for urgent clarification on the grounds for this decision’.

Self-proclaimed feminists have taken Hunt’s side. Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman wrote: ‘The selective abortion of girls is a crime. Simple as. So why no criminal charges?’ Shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry wrote to the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, expressing her outrage at the decision on women’s behalf.