On September 18th, politicians in England called for review of the availability of early-sex determination for pregnant women in an attempt to stop sex-selective abortions.
In the United Kingdom, abortion is legal in the first twenty-four weeks of pregnancy.
A recent discovery in the medical field now enables pregnant women to determine the sex of a baby after the first nine weeks, with a 98% confidence, through a simple draw of the mother’s blood. The test is called the Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) and most clinics provide it at a cost of £150-£200.
With the development of this new technology, mothers can find out the gender of their babies at nine weeks instead of mid-way through the second trimester, giving them up to two and a half months to have an abortion.
Labour MP Naz Shah said it was “morally wrong” that women were using the Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) to determine whether or not they were pregnant with a girl, and then scheduling an abortion based on the results.
The Labour Party is calling for the government to put more regulations on the accessibility to the test. Women have posted quotes in public forums on the BBC, showing that gender will influence whether they get an abortion.
“I need a son to heal me… My only bet is NIPT followed by continuation, only if it’s a boy,” one woman on the forum said.
Clare McCarthy, a spokesperson for Right To Life UK, told CNA she agrees with the need for government action to address the problem of sex-selective abortion.
“This BBC investigation adds to a growing body of evidence that we have a sex-selective abortion problem here in the UK,” said McCarthy.
“It’s time for the Government to stop denying there is a problem here and take urgent action to put in place a ban on sex-selective abortion.”
Many women are now abusing the power most parents are thrilled to use to prepare for the arrival of a boy or a girl. Yet, women intent on having sex-selective abortions choose to use this new technology to determine whether they will have the baby at all.
A life is a life. Boy or girl.