The Abortion of Baby Girls, the Public Interest and an Upside Down World Worthy of Alice In Wonderland


By Lord Alton, Vice-President, September 2013

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) says it will not prosecute the two doctors who told a mother that they were willing to abort her unborn child because of its gender. The mother (in reality, a journalist) had told the abortionists that she did not want a little girl. The doctors then agreed to carry out these illegal abortions. The exchanges were recorded.

The CPS says it won’t prosecute because the issue is “sensitive”, “political” and “not in the public interest.” The former Director of Public Prosecutions, Lord Macdonald, has rightly challenged this decision as “very dubious” saying that it is wrong to protect professionals from prosecution, “undermining the principle that everyone is equal under the law.”

The CPS also made the extraordinary claim that it “is up to doctors “to interpret the law” and that they have “wide discretion.” This is clearly not the case where gender abortions are concerned. This is not a legal (let alone ethical) ground for carrying out an abortion. Since when did we give doctors the right to interpret something which Parliament has expressly forbidden?

It is equally extraordinary that without recourse to Parliament an unelected official has, by fiat, effectively legalised gender abortions. If that isn’t a “political” decision it is hard to imagine what is. Rightly, the Labour Shadow Attorney General, Emily Thornberry, and the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, have challenged this.

The side-stepping of Parliament can only be rectified by Dominic Grieve QC, the Attorney General and he should do so as a matter of urgency.

As for the issue being “sensitive” – what this really means is that the routine ending of 600 British lives each and every single working day is an issue which we have put beyond the pale. We’re not prepared to think about it let alone discuss in a rational way. That is because of the scale of what we have permitted. Since abortion was made legal in 1967 we have aborted close on 7 million babies – around 200,000 each year – with one in five pregnancies now ending that way. Some have had as many as eight legal abortions. Most people assume (although not the law) that to do so is merely a matter of choice.
Of course, if you accept the proposition that “it is my right to choose” there is no logical reason why you shouldn’t end the life of a little girl merely because she is a girl. Gendercide is perfectly acceptable if choice trumps the very right to life itself. That the three celebratory words “it’s a girl” have become a death sentence, and the three most lethal and dangerous words in the world, is neither here nor there.

If it’s just down to choice and, in time, a test is discovered which reveals our likely sexual orientation, why not abort for that too? Is it just a matter of choice to take the life of a baby because it is mixed race or will be a colour which you don’t care for? It is, after all legal, to abort for “social grounds” (under which 98% of all abortions are done) and on grounds of “imperfection” – we end the lives of 90% of all babies with Down’s Syndrome and have aborted for things like cleft palate.

In considering all this not a lot of “sensitivity” is shown to the interests of the unborn child, some of whom will be in great pain (we allow abortion up to birth in some cases). Perhaps the CPS would consider whether that constitutes torture – but that would be “political” too and probably not in “the public interest” to have to confront something so awful.

It is also worthy of Alice in Wonderland that, on one hand, the CPS will prosecute a pensioner who shows a graphic image depicting the heart-breaking reality of what occurs in an abortion whilst, on the other hand, declines to take action against a doctor who is willing to flout the law by undertaking illegal gender abortions with the justification and sole objective of taking the life of a little girl. This is an incoherent and upside-down world which also violates a basic maxim of legal jurisprudence, that all parties should stand equal before the law. Holding different people accountable to different standards should not be the basis on which the CPS operates.

The only way that we will ever successfully contest the assertion that taking action is “not in the public interest” will be when the public – and through them, MPs – show rather more interest in a law which has taken the lives of seven million Britons – and in the end whether they are boys or girls is neither here nor there. Some of those who share these concerns have put up a Facebook page where you can register your view: