MPs have voted 181-1 in favour of a Bill that would make sex-selective abortion illegal.
The overwhelming support for the Bill means that it will now proceed to a second reading in the House of Commons.The second reading will take place on January 23, 2015, although it is unlikely to be given time for debate in this Parliamentary session due to the fact a general election is set to take place in May.
The Abortion (Sex-Selection) Bill, introduced by Congleton MP Fiona Bruce as a Ten-Minute Rule Bill, would make clear that it is illegal under the 1967 Abortion Act to abort a baby on the grounds of its sex.
In response to the vote, Mrs Bruce said: “That we are having this discussion is testament to how liberally the Abortion Act has been interpreted. Today Parliament agreed that more legislation is needed to silence those claiming that sex-selective abortion can be legal. Never would Parliamentarians in 1967 have imagined that 47 years on, there would be dispute about whether their Act permitted abortion where the baby was the a boy or a girl.
“If the social clause of the Act permits sex-selective abortion, the time to revisit it is long overdue. Until then, today’s vote has given a clear signal that MPs are united in working towards a time when the words ‘it’s a girl’ are met with celebration rather than despair.”
Michaela Aston, spokesman for pro-life charity LIFE, said: “Today MPs sent a clear message that as a society we will not tolerate discrimination against girls whether born or unborn. The abortion of girls because of their gender has no place in a modern society which embraces equality.
“The Bill brought today is also important as it asked the Government to consider what help can be offered to women under pressure to abort their child on the ground of sex. It’s vital that these women can access the support services necessary to continue with their pregnancy.”