British abortion campaigner Dr Wendy Savage has ignited a storm of controversy in an interview with The Mail On Sunday where she called for sex-selective abortions to be allowed. Sex-selection abortions are often called gendercide because the child is usually aborted simply because she is a girl.
Savage, who also believes that abortion should be legal up to birth said “If a woman does not want to have a foetus who is one sex or the other, forcing her [to go through with the pregnancy] is not going to be good for the eventual child, and it’s not going to be good for [the mother’s] mental health.’
Widely described as an ethicist because of her position on the British Medical Association's Ethics Committee, Savage is retired gynaecologist who has previously, in 2011, denied that the unborn child is alive. In the interview with The Mail on Sunday she reiterated this view: “‘The foetus is a potential human life at that stage [in the womb]; it is not an actual human life.”
Dr Savage boasts that she performed over ten thousand abortions. Savage's intervention has horrified abortion opponents. Solicitor and Conservative MP Mark Field who is vice chairman of the Conservative party has said that Savage's support for sex selective abortion was “abhorrent” and has questioned her role on the British Medical Association's Ethics Committee.
Aisling Hubert, the pro-life campaigner who took a private prosecution against doctors performing illegal sex selective abortions, went further, calling for Savage to resign from the BMA Ethics Committee . "With this kind of ethics and this kind of morality as a guide for the British Medical Association, I think there is no option but for her to step down, when she values human life in such a way." The BMA responded by saying it supports the current law on abortion and stated “we advise members to act within the boundaries of the law and their own conscience.”
International human rights group StopGendercide said “In many parts of the world, sex-selective abortion is so widespread that it is known as ‘gendercide’. Prejudice against female babies has resulted in a mass cull of girls in the womb which will blight those societies for decades – a bleak reminder of what awaits Ireland if we fail to save the 8th amendment.
Sex-selective abortions are seen as an option for many families of British Asian communities with a cultural preference for boys, leading NHS hospitals to adopt a policy of not informing parents of the unborn baby's sex. Savage says that this is “outrageous. It’s her body and her foetus, so she should have that information”. Earlier Savage said that sex-selective abortion cannot be discrimination as that term only applies to living people.
The outrage over Savage's interview prompted abortion provider British Pregnancy Advisory Service to accuse The Mail on Sunday of “demonizing” Savage by publishing the interview. “We stand by Wendy Savage and are forever grateful for all she has done for pregnant women over a career spanning decades.” Savage has not denied that she gave the interview or that the views published were hers. In the interview she also called for the abortion pill to be available without restriction or medical prescription.
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