London, England, Nov 12, 2014 / 10:40 am
Claiming that the government has turned a blind eye to sex-selective abortions, British pro-life activists are launching a rare private prosecution against two doctors accused of promoting the illegal practice.
"Again we have seen the establishment stand silent in the face of the abortion industry, hoping that the horrors will be swept under the carpet and the problems go away," said Aisling Hubert, a pro-life campaigner supported by the Christian Legal Centre in a Nov. 10 statement on the prosecution.
"But justice demands that something is done and that people are held to account for their actions. The law can only protect if it is enforced," she urged.
Hubert has launched a private prosecution of Dr. Prabha Sivaraman and another, unnamed, doctor for their alleged promotion of sex-selective abortions – an illegal procedure under British law – during a 2012 undercover investigation.
The investigation opened up a storm of controversy after the Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Keir Starmer, decided in 2013 not to bring charges against the doctors.
After investigation by Scotland Yard, the Crown Prosecution Service decided that it was not in the "public interest" to defend laws outlawing the abortion of baby girls or boys solely on the basis of sex, despite arguments that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the case.
Starmer later added to the confusion around the case, saying that doctors can have "wide discretion" in assessing whether or not to continue a pregnancy, and that existing laws do not "expressly prohibit gender-specific abortions."
Prime Minister David Cameron and other ministers have asserted that abortions based on the grounds of an unborn child's sex are illegal. However, the British Medical Association has commented that some situations may exist in which it "would be lawful" to abort a pregnancy because of the sex of the child.
In an attempt to settle the dispute, members of the House of Commons of the British Parliament voted 181-1 to support legislation that clearly states the illegality of sex-selective abortions during a Nov. 4 vote.
Following the launch of prosecution against the doctors, the Magistrates' Court in Manchester has ordered Dr. Sivaraman to appear before the court in December to face charges of "conspiracy to procure poison to be used with intent to procure abortion, contrary to section 59 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861."
"Gender-abortion is a horrible practice," Hubert said of the suit. "I took this dramatic step because those who should have done so were effectively turning a blind eye."