Gender-based abortions raise controversy in England, Australia

Published: Saturday, Oct. 12 2013 12:00 p.m. MDT

In England, gender-based abortions are stoking controversy as a group of Christian lawyers plan to sue a pair of doctors over arranging an abortion of a female fetus because the parents wanted a boy.

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In England, two medical doctors are being sued by a group of Christian lawyers after the physicians arranged an abortion of a female fetus because the parents wanted boys.

Filing the suit is Christian Concern, a London-based social justice organization, according to Religion News Service. Andrew Williams, CEO of the organization, said the organization was suing the doctors because the government refused to charge them, according to RNS.

“In an Oct. 7 letter to the attorney general, Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said the Abortion Act of 1967 ‘does not expressly prohibit gender specific abortions,’ ” reported RNS.

The only grounds for prosecution on the doctors would be that they failed to offer “'a sufficiently robust assessment’ of their patient’s health,” RNS reported.

This isn’t the first time this month England’s abortion laws have hit the news. About a week ago, the head of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Ann Furedi, said to Christian News that the law allows women to have abortions “if they are unhappy with the baby’s sex” and that no clarifications are needed.

“A doctor agreeing to an abortion on grounds of rape would be breaking the law no more and no less than a doctor who agrees an abortion on grounds of sex selection,” she wrote on Spiked. “You can’t be pro-choice except when you don’t like the choice, because that’s not pro-choice at all."

But in Australia, things went in a different direction. Dr. Mark Hobart may be taken off the country’s medical register for denying a girl an abortion because her family wanted a boy instead of a girl, according to Catholic Herald.

“I refused to refer the patient because there was no medical reason to do it and it offended my moral conscience,” Hobart said to the Catholic Herald.

The doctor also refused to refer the couple to another doctor. The parents did, however, find a doctor who “went ahead with the abortion,” the Catholic Herald said.

Hobart is being investigated by Medical Board of Australia and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, which will specifically look at the Abortion Law Reform Act 2008.

Hobart will be investigated "for failing to refer a female patient seeking treatment and advice on abortion to a non-objecting practitioner, for demonstrating a disregard for his obligations as a medical practitioner and for disregarding patient rights," Nine Media reported.

"I think it demonstrates the problem with abortion law that stops doctors from using their conscience whether it is appropriate or not," Hobart said.

Stateside, a judge recently tossed out an Arizona lawsuit that challenged "the state’s ban on race and gender-based abortions," reported the Christian News Network.

“Every innocent life deserves to be protected, and that’s especially true of babies being targeted for death simply because of their sex or race,” stated senior counsel Casey Mattox, according to the article. “There is nothing medically necessary or constitutionally protected about an abortion that is committed on the basis of sex or race. ... The court has done the right thing in dismissing this meritless lawsuit.”

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com

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