Calling a halt to gendercide

Some women who are expecting girls are coming under pressure to have a sex-select abortion, or gendercide as campaigners call it.

Facing strong social pressure, or even coercion or violence, to end a pregnancy just because you are carrying a girl is a reality for a disturbing number of women, according to women’s advocacy organisation Jeena International, which helps women escape domestic violence.

Sadly, there is evidence of sex imbalances in birth rates through covert abortions for sex selection in some areas of the UK. I have, therefore, joined Jeena International and other MPs to help stop this through a parliamentary Bill which would make it clear that the 1967 Abortion Act does not allow abortion simply on the grounds of fetal sex.

Sex-selective abortion should be an issue around which everyone can rally, whatever their view on abortion as a whole. It is unjust discrimination and its mass use has caused severe population imbalances in parts of China and India.

Clarifying that British law bans abortion on the grounds of gender will help curb it in Britain. Any confusion about this needs to be cleared up.

Abortion is often a highly divisive issue with strong feelings on both sides. But abortion on grounds of sex unites people on all sides of the debate, not least for the sake of women who may feel pressured into having a sex-selective abortion. It is unacceptable and must be stopped.