There is no evidence sex-selective abortion is a problem in the UK, reproductive rights campaigners have said following criticism over calls for pregnant women to be told the sex of their foetus.
Senior doctors’ union member Wendy Savage said it was “outrageous” that some doctors withheld information about the gender of unborn babies due to fears over sex-selective abortions.
Professor Savage told the Mail on Sunday that forcing women to give birth to a child of a sex they do not want to have “is not going to be good for the eventual child, and it’s not going to be good for [the mother’s] mental health.”
She also said people should be allowed to have an abortion at any stage of a pregnancy and abortion pills should be available online without the need to see a doctor or nurse.
Parents wanting to find out the sex of their baby can usually do so in a mid-term scan at between 18 to 21 weeks but some hospitals have a policy of not telling them, according to the NHS Choices website.
“Because of this sort of anxiety some places won’t tell the woman the sex of the foetus, which is outrageous. It’s her body and her foetus, so she should have that information,” said Professor Savage.
“It is the women’s right to decide,” she told the newspaper, speaking in a personal capacity. “It’s her body. She is the one taking the risks.”
The Mail on Sunday published the interview with the 81-year-old women’s rights campaigner, who sits on the ethics committee of the British Medical Association (BMA), on the front page with the headline: “Let mothers abort babies of ‘wrong’ sex”.