Socialist Worker

Report refutes racist sex selective abortion myths

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2469

There is no evidence that abortions are taking place in Britain on grounds of sex, according to a new government report.

This refutes racist claims repeatedly made by right wing newspapers about sex selective abortions.

The Department of Health (DoH) published its findings last week. It said, “We have found no substantiated concerns of gender abortions occurring in England, Wales and Scotland.”

The study looked at male to female birth ratios for all mothers in Britain between 2009 and 2013. 

It also looked at the mother’s country of birth and the ethnicity of the child where data was available.

There were 3.9 million registered births in Britain and the ratio of boys to girls was 105.2. A ratio of around 105 male births per 100 female births is considered normal with an upper limit of 107.

One Daily Mail newspaper story in January claimed, “Thousands of female foetuses have been killed due to gender-based abortion within some ethnic groups.”

There was no evidence for this. Instead the Mail pointed to census figures showing differences in the sex ratio of children across ethnic groups.

The DoH showed that these differences are not statistically significant, but the result of random variation.

The story has been racist from the start. The Mail blamed it on “cultures” that view boys as “more desirable for religious or economic reasons”.

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.