In the UK abortion is available on the NHS. There are restrictions and it does depend how far into the pregnancy a woman is. Abortion is not something which should be used as a form of contraception. Having an abortion is never easy and for some women it is very traumatic. It is also true though that for some women it is the only sensible option and sometimes it is a llfesaver.
No matter whether you are pro or anti abortion it is doubtful that you would agree with the abortion of a foetus simply because it was deemed the wrong sex by the parent or parents. In fact in the UK such an abortion is illegal.
Today, February 23, 2012, it has been revealed that an undercover investigation by The Telegraph has proof that such abortions are being carried out in the UK. The doctors who have been involved have been prepared to falsify documentation to flout the law. UK Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has said that he will be reporting the abortion clinics to UK police and the GMC, general medical, council. He went on to say, "If this is happening not only is it a criminal act but it entails professionals falsifying the reports. It's a shocking thing to have happened. We will follow it up urgently."
The DoH issued a statement which said, “Following this morning's reports in the Telegraph, we will be speaking to the police. Criminal offences may have been committed and we will take urgent action. We will be speaking to the GMC to ask them to investigate individual clinicians and we have asked the Care Quality Commission to urgently inspect the named clinics. “The Chief Medical Officer will be writing out this morning to all abortion clinics, NHS hospitals and Primary Care Trusts to remind them of their responsibilities and the requirements of the Abortion Act.”
The undercover journalists attended the clinics alongside pregnant women. The offer of a "wrong sex abortion" was not an isolated one. Nine clinics were visited. Some of the wrong sex abortions were referred over to the Private sector of the clinics rather than the NHS part but wrong sex abortions are still illegal. Some of the clinics the investigative reporters attended played by the letter of the law and refused a same sex abortion.
One of the first casualties of today's news was CQC , care quality commission, chief executive Cynthia Bower who has resigned. She said, "CQC are supposed to ensure the abortion clinics operate according to the law. What they need to do is get on top of this situation as soon as possible."
Opinion: This terrible news must not be used to with hold the right to abortion in the UK. It must however lead to a tightening of the regulations, accountability to those involved so far, strict monitoring and an investigation. Wrong sex abortions are illegal in the UK, under the 1967 Abortion Act, and they should stay that way.
Full Telegraph report here
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog