LONDON — A leading member of the House of Lords has urged Britain to wake up before it is too late following revelations that gender-based abortions are being offered in the country.

Pro-life groups branded the discovery “repulsive” and urged the U.K. government to cut its ties with private abortion providers.

An undercover investigation by The Daily Telegraph filmed several businesses agreeing to abort unborn babies on the basis of their gender. The newspaper said undercover reporters had accompanied pregnant women to nine facilities in different parts of the country, and in a third of cases doctors agreed to perform abortions because of the gender of the unborn baby.

Sex-selective abortions are routinely performed in China and India.

The newspaper alleged that the doctors involved were willing to falsify the necessary paperwork so that the illegal procedures could go ahead.

Following the report, the Department of Health announced that it was going to carry out a full investigation into the claims. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said sex-selective abortion was “illegal and morally wrong.”

“I’m extremely concerned to hear about these allegations. I’ve asked my officials to investigate this as a matter of urgency,” he said.

Responding to the announcement, a Catholic member of the House of Lords, David Alton, baron of Liverpool, noted, “The Health Secretary Andrew Lansley calls gender abortions ‘immoral’ and ‘illegal.’ But we need to hear from him why it is immoral and illegal to abort a little girl — it usually will be a girl — or a boy on grounds of gender, but legal and moral in every other case.”

Lord Alton continued, “We also need to know what will be the form and timescale of the investigation which he announced; whether the investigation will encompass all abortion clinics, not just selected ones; and whether doctors suspected to have falsified abortion referral forms or to have performed gender abortions will be referred to the General Medical Council, as well as the police authorities.”

‘Wake Up, Britain!’
Lord Alton said, “Killing babies on the grounds of their sex is barbaric.” He also commented, “It has been said that a country which kills its own children has no future. That’s true. And a country which accepts infanticide or the killing of a little girl or a little boy because of their gender, the killing of a baby because of a disability or the killing of a child because it is inconvenient, the wrong shape or the wrong color also forfeits its right to call itself civilized.”

“Wake up, Britain — wake up before it’s too late,” he urged.

Anthony Ozimic, communications manager of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, commented: “This investigation confirms the reality of eugenics in modern British medicine, in which some innocent human beings are deemed too inconvenient to be allowed to live. Sex-selective abortion is an inevitable consequence of easy access to abortion, a situation to which the pro-abortion lobby has no convincing answer.”

He called on the government “to cut its ties to private abortion providers and to abortion-rights organizations, as they are complicit in sex-selective abortion domestically and internationally.”

Mark Bhagwandin, spokesman for the pro-life charity LIFE, said that the revelations about sex-selective abortions were not surprising: “For too long the industry has consistently abused and, in cases, flagrantly broken the law on abortion with seeming impunity. In an industry where in practice there is abortion on demand it is no surprise that some abortionists see no problem terminating an unborn child simply because it is the wrong gender.”

He said that the newspaper investigation represented “the culmination of years of abuse of the abortion laws in this country — to the extent that the rate of abortion is one every three minutes.”

Bhagwandin said that the charity hoped this would lead to action “to put an end to the constant abuse of the abortion law and ensure that those who break it face the full force of the law. Failure to do so will send the signal to an out-of-control industry that anything goes when it comes to the termination of the unborn.”

“This must be the final straw,” he said. “It is time to move swiftly and effectively to send a clear message that the few restrictions on abortion in the U.K. will not be mocked and there is at least some protection for the unborn child, whether it is a boy or a girl.”

James Kelly is a columnist for The Universe, the highest-
circulation Catholic weekly in Britain and Ireland,
and a researcher at the
University of London.