Socialist Worker

Resist racist abortion panic—defend women's right to choose

Issue No. 2405

Newspapers have claimed that new abortion guidelines will “remind” practitioners that abortion on the grounds of gender alone is “illegal”.

But the Director of Public Prosecutions said last year that the law does not prohibit abortion on the grounds of gender. 

And there is no evidence of such abortions taking place.

The Department of Health analysed male to female birth ratios in the UK between 2007 and 2011. These were broken down by the mothers’ country of birth. It concluded, “No group was found to have a ratio that was different from the naturally expected range.”

Yet its new guidelines say, “Gender is not itself a lawful ground under the Abortion Act”.

Abortion is legal until the 24th week of pregnancy—or indefinitely if there’s a substantial risk to the woman’s life or foetal abnormalities.

Women don’t have abortion “on demand”. Two doctors must agree that continuing the pregnancy would put the physical or mental health of the woman or her children at risk. 

The abortion panic is based on a racist assumption that women from ethnic minorities are aborting female foetuses. It aims to swing opinion against abortion in general.

It is an attempt to roll back women’s rights. Forcing women to bear children they don’t want won’t boost the rights of girls or women.

We should fight for a woman’s right to choose, whatever her reason.

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What We Think
Tue 27 May 2014, 17:42 BST
Issue No. 2405
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