Would shutting down online companies helping parents discover the sex of their unborn child prevent sex-selective abortions?
An investigation has been launched into abortions conducted on the basis of gender after increasing concerns that terminations are being carried out for cultural and social reasons.
Under the 1967 Abortion Act, termination on grounds of the sex of the foetus is illegal.
According to Thérèse Hesketh, a professor of Global Health at the UCL Institute of Global Health, banning online companies that currently offer blood tests to parents hoping to discover the sex of their unborn child would help prevent gender-based abortions.
During the investigation, undercover reporters accompanied pregnant women to nine different clinics across the country.
Worryingly, three out of nine doctors offered to arrange abortions after being informed that the mother-to-be wished to terminate the pregnancy after learning the sex of the baby.
Professor Hesketh warns that new technologies sweeping the internet means it is easier for couples to discover the sex of their child as early as seven weeks into the pregnancy.
‘At the moment, one can go on the internet to get a blood test to find out the sex of the child,’ she says.
‘If that is made illegal that would be a big step forward and perhaps this publicity will actually close down these companies, which are currently offering women the knowledge of their foetus as early as seven weeks.’
Do you agree? Should the government take action to stop online companies facilitating gender-based abortions? Do you think introducing a ban would make a difference? Have your say by posting a comment below.