British ministers want to find out if fetuses being aborted for gender

April 16, 2013 at 1:55 AM
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LONDON, April 16 (UPI) -- A group of Conservative and Labor ministers say they will introduce a bill Tuesday to record the gender of aborted fetuses to detect sex-selection abortion.

Earl Howe, the health minister, recently said a government analysis of birth figures showed illegal sex-selection abortion could be occurring within some immigrant communities in Britain, but the Department of Health refused to disclose the findings because they said it was not in the public interest, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Fiona Bruce, a Conservative backbencher, said the fact that a baby could be aborted just because she is a girl or a boy remains the most basic form of discrimination, and concerns about it cross communities, cultures and countries.

"We need to be willing to open up a dialogue about this in the United Kingdom and to ensure that that dialogue is properly evidence-based -- hence the call for the Department of Health to take action," Bruce told the Telegraph.

The ministers acknowledged there were disparities but argue more research is needed to know whether they can be explained by natural variations.

There have been a series of studies on the human sex ratio and while it is commonly assumed to be 105 boys to 100 girls, a number of recent studies showed even in the absence of sex selection practices, a range of "normal" sex ratios at birth of between 103 to 108 boys per 100 girls has been observed in different economically developed countries, and among different ethnic and racial groups within a given country.

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