20th March, 2017

On 19 March, the Mail on Sunday reported on an interview with Professor Wendy Savage, in which they focused on her brief comments on sex-selective abortion.

Although in some countries abortion on the basis of sex is a widespread issue, the Department of Health has not found any evidence that abortion on the basis of sex-selection is common in the UK.

Even if this were to change, the situation would not be improved by restricting access to abortion, or withholding information from prospective parents. Instead we need to make sure that effective procedures for consent, and to safeguard vulnerable women, are in place.

Abortion on specific grounds, such as the sex of the fetus – or even rape – is not currently legal under the 1967 Abortion Act. Abortion is only legal if two doctors approve the procedure.

We are concerned by attempts to make abortion on the grounds of fetal sex a crime, as it risks encouraging ethnic profiling. Withholding information about a pregnancy from prospective parents, such as the sex of the fetus, is a concerning practice that FPA does not support.

FPA recognises and supports Professor Wendy Savage’s longstanding commitment to women’s rights. Professor Savage is a member of pro-choice coalition Voice for Choice, of which FPA is also a member.