September 18, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – In news that will add to the growing concern about the Government's roll-out of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) an investigation by the Victoria Derbyshire show has found thousands of British women discussing using NIPT to determine sex on an online forum.
In response, Labour MP Naz Shah has called for a ban on using NIPT to determine gender, amid fears that it is leading to baby girls being selectively aborted. This call has surprised many commentators, given that an amendment that would have explicitly banned sex-selective abortion was voted down by Labour MPs in 2015.
The gendercide of baby girls through sex-selective abortion (an issue explored by Fiorella Nash in The Abolition of Woman) is a huge problem worldwide, with the global figure for missing girls standing at an estimated 160 million. In the UK, an investigation by the Independent found that the practice “has reduced female population by between 1,500 and 4,700”.
In 2015, Aisling Hubert, a 22 year old pro-life campaigner, was ordered to pay legal costs after the Crown Prosecution Service said it was “not in the public interest” to prosecute two doctors who were filmed clearly offering to perform sex selective abortions as part of a newspaper investigation.
Rani Bilkhu from the Jeena International organisation says many women say they have suffered violence or been coerced into abortions because they were pregnant with a second or third girl.
Showing their commitment to defending abortion at all costs, the reaction from the biggest proponents of abortion has been to support sex-selective abortion as just another choice, or to deny that it happens at all. In a press release issued today, BPAS continued to insist that “sex selective abortion does not occur routinely in the UK” and opposed the idea of banning testing for foetal sex.
The Victoria Derbyshire investigation has highlighted how NIPT can be misused to discriminate against babies in the womb. While deriding screening and abortion on grounds of gender as “morally wrong” Naz Shah supported it for babies with disabilities, saying “NIPT screenings should be used for their intended purpose, to screen for serious conditions such as Down's syndrome.” In 2016, the Government approved the roll-out of NIPT despite the concerns of campaigners that it will increase the number of abortions for babies with Down's syndrome, and have a devastating impact on the Down's syndrome community. Sadly our world has become a hostile place to those with Down's syndrome and despite the wonderful lives that those with the condition have and the loving disposition that they typically have, are being systematically eradicated by our health service.
Also, another Labour MP, Diana Johnson, announced that she intends to reintroduce her ten-minute rule bill on decriminalising abortion. This would remove abortion from the criminal law, and make it impossible to restrict abortion on any grounds – including that of sex.
Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.