By Tim Montgomerie
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The Tory MP for Congleton, Fiona Bruce, has put down an Early Day Motion in response to news that parents from certain overseas countries – including India and China – are more likely to abort their unborn babies if those babies are girls than boys. Mrs Bruce wants the Department of Health to accurately monitor trends in abortion to establish whether such pre-birth discrimination is occuring:
"That this House, in acknowledging that there is a wide range of different but sincerely held views on the issue of abortion law, nevertheless unites in registering its profound shock at recent confirmation by the Department of Health that there are discrepancies in the balance between the number of boys and girls born to groups of women from some overseas countries to an extent that `falls outside the range considered possible without intervention'; is appalled that there now appears to be evidence of significant numbers of baby girls being aborted illegally in the UK simply because of their gender; reminds the police and Crown Prosecution Service that abortion on the grounds of gender is illegal; and, in demanding immediate and effective enforcement of the law in this area, calls on the Department of Health to put in place procedures to record in future the gender of babies aborted under the provisions of the Abortion Act 1967 so that statistical evidence of crime cannot be hidden."
Mrs Bruce is a pro-life Tory MP and her concerns about this anti-girl prejudice are therefore understandable. Less easy to understand are objections from pro-abortion campaigners. Anne Scanlan from the LIFE charity recently told LifeNews:
"Cases of sex-selective abortion, and the public uneasiness about the practice, highlight a huge tension in the “pro-choice” position. Pro-choicers who claim to be concerned about this issue have to explain why. The core of the pro-choice argument is that all women have the right to end a pregnancy for whatever reason at any point. On what grounds, then, does someone who describes themself as pro-choice criticise abortion on grounds of the baby’s sex? Similarly, pro-choicers who have no objection to sex-selective abortion are sanctioning and endorsing a deeply discriminatory and intolerant practice.”