a story on sex selective abortions being carried out with "no questions asked" here in the UK. Undercover reporters accompanied pregnant women to nine different abortion clinics and secretly filmed the conversations had with the doctors (one of which can be viewed on the Telegraph's page, see link above). Despite sex selective abortions being illegal in this country this was overlooked and ignored by the doctors in question with one of them even saying, "I don't ask questions. You want a termination, you want a termination. ... That's my job..." On learning of the report Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, said, "I’m extremely concerned to hear about these allegations. Sex selection is illegal and is morally wrong. I've asked my officials to investigate this as a matter of urgency."
So how and why has this disturbing state of events been able to come about? There has been a great deal of anger and condemnation of these events since this story broke from both pro-life and pro-choice voices but, to a certain extent, this is not actually surprising at all.
Before you can honestly and thoroughly start to examine how the notion of killing an unborn child just because he or she is a boy or girl has taken hold in the UK you have to take a long, hard, realistic look at what abortion is in the first place. No matter how clinics or pro-choice advocates try to play it down (for example by calling the unborn child a "clump of cells" or whatever else) abortion is the intentional killing of another human person. Whilst it is not our place (and nor would we ever want to) to judge those who have had abortions in the past there is nothing that can change this fact. And in the UK abortion is available "on demand"; if you don't want to keep your child you can go into a clinic and they will organise a termination for you. Since it was legalised in 1967 it has become more and more acceptable to end your pregnancy if you can't afford to have a baby, if you don't wan't a baby, if your partner doesn't want a baby, if your baby is disabled or if, especially during IVF, there are "too many" babies. When you consider the attitude towards pregnancies where the child will be born with Down's Syndrome (for one example), where the child won't be "normal", it is not that great a leap for our culture to terminate one simply because the baby will be born the "wrong" sex. Children have become a commodity and with that they become disposable when they are not precisely what we want them to be. This attitude has come out of the easy, "no questions asked" access to abortions over the decades (as outlined in SPUC's statement here.) Sex selective abortions are, quite literally, the tip of the iceberg and what makes this so abhorrent is not simply the reason a girl could be killed just for being a girl, it is the fact that a child died in the first place. All abortion at any stage is totally and utterly wrong, completely immoral and the only way to properly address this recent and disturbing development in the attitudes towards sex selection are to change the way people see abortion in the first place. The law needs to be changed, life needs to be cherished, respected and loved in all its forms. Somehow our culture has forgotten this or tries to forget it when the truth of the beauty and dignity of all human life becomes inconvenient and needs, desperately, to re-learn it and soon.