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FOI request puts spotlight on sex-selection abortion in Scotland

4 February 2019

 
"Some women no longer nurtured the pregnancy if they were told it was a girl". (Image: Unsplash)

Of the 14 NHS boards in Scotland, four do not reveal the unborn baby's gender, according to documents obtained after Freedom of Information requests.

Pregnant women are not being told the gender of their unborn babies amid fears they could abort them if they're not the gender they wanted, it has been claimed, reports the Metro.

Girls no longer nurtured

One health board changed the policy as hospital staff were subjected to "verbal abuse" when they were unable to tell whether it was a boy or girl.

Speaking to the Sunday Post, a midwife who asked not to be named said: "There were threats of legal action if we got it wrong.

"And some women no longer nurtured the pregnancy if they were told it was a girl."

Prenatal test results "not definitive"

Another midwife who also asked to remain anonymous, added: "Mistakes happen.

"I had a case where a couple were told they were having a wee girl and everything they had was pink, the nursery was decorated pink, and then they had a boy."

A spokesman on behalf of NHS Grampian and NHS Orkney said: 'These scans are aimed at establishing the health and growth of baby.

'Our sonographers do not look for gender during tests as the results are not definitive.

'New parents are informed about the policy initially by their community midwife as well as by staff and signage during the tests themselves


LISTEN: Alithea Williams talks about how prenatal screening may have been used for sex selection abortion in the UK

"Abnormality" is detected "for abortion"

Last September, an investigation by the Victoria Derbyshire show found thousands of British women discussing using non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) to determine sex on an online forum.

NIPT, which was explained by one medical professional as being a test "for terminations", is commonly used to determine whether or not a child has an "abnormality", such as Down syndrome. There were a total of 3,314 abortions due to "fetal abnormality" in 2017, in England and Wales, an increase from previous years, recorded in Abortion Statistics, England and Wales: 2017 (Department of Health and Social Care).

NIPT can also be used to determine the sex of a child in the womb.

Abortion "always down to the woman"

The abortion lobby has publicly endorsed sex selection abortion on a number of occasions.

CEO Ann Furedi of abortion provider BPAS, in comments that were supported by BPAS Medical Director Dr Patricia Lohr, claimed that it was "always down to the woman" to decide if she wanted to abort her child. This remark was made in response to a direct question about gender-selective abortion.

A culture of discrimination

SPUC Campaign Research Officer and speaker on pro-life feminism, Margaret Akers commented: "It's disappointing to hear that experienced midwives have a genuine concern over gender selective abortion in the UK. It suggests that our culture is not as egalitarian as we would like to think. Gender selective abortion most often discriminates against unborn girls - I hate to think this misogyny is being perpetuated to this day."

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