(CNSNews.com) –Members of the British Parliament voted 181-1 to make gender-based abortion illegal Tuesday following the release of statistics suggesting that girls are aborted at a much higher rate in certain immigrant communities in the United Kingdom.
Citing “widespread confusion” over the current law,Fiona Bruce, a member of Parliament representing Congleton, introduced the bill, which was backed by 11 female MPs from all three major political parties.
“The bill is extremely straightforward, merely clarifying that nothing in section 1 of the Abortion Act [of] 1967 allows a pregnancy to be terminated on the grounds of the sex of the unborn child,” Bruce explained.
“It is a shame that this clarification is needed,” she told the House of Commons Tuesday before the vote. “Successive health ministers and even the prime minister have been very clear on the matter. They state that abortion for reasons of gender alone is illegal. The prime minister has described the practice as ‘simply appalling'."
“These ministers are being ignored,” Bruce went on. “The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which performs around 60,000 abortions a year, flatly disagrees with them.
"Even today, it is advising women, in one of its leaflets and on its website, that abortion for reasons of foetal sex is not illegal, because the law is ‘silent on the matter.’”
Despite claims that sex-selective abortion is not an issue in the UK, a rigorous analysis of Britain's 2011 Census data by The Independentrevealed that “the selective abortion of female foetuses is taking place on a big enough scale to account for between 1,400 and 4,700 ‘missing girls’ within all these ethnic groups (Pakistani, Afghan, Bangladeshi, Indian, Chinese, Nepalese and the others) living in England and Wales.”
The Independent acknowledges that “being more precise about sex-selective abortions would require a more extensive analysis of census data, combined with birth statistics and possibly the gender of surgically aborted foetuses where this is possible.”
“In any event,” they conclude, “it is simply not credible to claim, as Government ministers have done repeatedly, that there is no evidence to suggest that sex-selective abortions take place in Britain.”
A separate study conducted in 2007 by Oxford University found that “the ratio of boys to girls born to Indian mothers having their third child was 114 to 100,” The Daily Mailreports. This ratio is “much higher than the ratio for mothers of all backgrounds of 104 to 100,” and is therefore “a sign of sex-selective abortions.”
Sylvie Dubuc, the lead author of the Oxford study, said “the figures suggested that 100 baby girls are terminated every year” in the UK simply because they are female.
The bill banning sex-selective abortions will be up for a second reading before the House of Commons in January.