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Abortion: Gender Selection

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 6069, tabled on 21 January 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to ensure that gender-selective abortions are not carried out in UK.

This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.

Answered on

28 January 2020

Sex selection is not one of the lawful grounds for termination of pregnancy. It is illegal for a practitioner to carry out an abortion for that reason alone, unless the certifying practitioners consider that an abortion was justified in relation to at least one of the grounds in the Abortion Act 1967 such as a sex-linked inherited medical condition.

We have no evidence that sex related abortions are taking place in Great Britain. The latest analysis by the Department found that the United Kingdom gender ratio over the period 2013 to 2017 was 105.4 male to 100 female births, which is within the normal boundary. The Department continues to keep this under review.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.