PQRM Committee's Letter to MPs on Sex-Selective Abortion
(The letter copied below was sent last week to MPs by the Church's Public Questions, Religion & Morals Committee. Sadly in the vote on 23rd February the amendment to make sex-selective abortion explicitly illegal was lost by 292 to 201.)
21st February 2015
Dear Member of Parliament,
We write to ask you to support Fiona Bruce’s amendment to the Serious Crime Bill which would outlaw sex-selective abortion (sometimes referred to as ‘gender’ abortion) and which is to be voted on in the House of Commons on 23rd February.
We do not hesitate to say that we oppose the deliberate ending of unborn human life altogether. On the basis of the Bible we believe that human life begins at conception and that in the sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13), God issues a warning against the taking away of human life unustly, especially the life of the weak and vulnerable. We believe that we have a God-given duty to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves: “Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction” (Proverbs 31:8).
The use of the provisions of the Abortion Act 1967, which covers England, Wales and Scotland, has been extended far beyond what the MP who introduced it (David Steel, now Lord Steel of Aikwood) intended, as he has acknowledged. While we abhor the thought of the life of any poor, defenceless infant being ended deliberately in his or her mother’s womb there is something profoundly shocking in the idea that parents may choose to end the life of their unborn child purely on the grounds of that child’s sex. This should surely shock all but the most hardened of individuals. It cannot be allowed to have a place in what is meant to be a civilised society.
It will no doubt be said that sex-selective abortion is not really a problem in the UK. The matter is probably difficult to quantify. What adds to the concern is the fact that the British Medical Association has outlined cases where they believe sex-selective abortion is permissible on mental health grounds and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which performs thousands of abortions annually in the UK, has claimed that gender abortion is not illegal. So now is the right time to make sure that this evil practice, whatever its current frequency, is made as non-existent as possible. Strengthening the law of the land in this area by making gender abortion explicitly illegal is in the power of Members of Parliament and it would be a good, wise and compassionate step to take.
Finally may we say that in our view Fiona Bruce’s amendment deserves the support of all who have any proper respect for the dignity and worth of human life, whether male or female, both being made by God after His own image.
For these and other reasons we urge you to attend the House of Commons on Monday and support Fiona Bruce’s amendment.
With kind regards,
Rev. David Blunt (Convener)