Women 'should be told' sex of foetus in pregnancy scan

Women 'should be told' sex of foetus in pregnancy scan

She also said people should be allowed to have an abortion at any stage of a pregnancy and abortion pills should be available online without the need to see a doctor or nurse. To Savage, a sex-selection abortion is "not gender discrimination" because only "living people" can be discriminated against.

A spokeswoman said: "The BMA supports the current law on abortion. If a woman does not want to have a fetus 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".

But fears have risen that British women are undergoing abortions based on the gender of their unborn child after a 2014 study showed the United Kingdom had up to 4,700 fewer girls than would be statistically expected.

After under cover journalists exposed medics agreeing to carry out such terminations, they explained: "Abortion on the grounds of gender alone is illegal".

Parents who want to find out the sex of their foetus can usually do so in a mid-term scan at about 20 weeks but some hospitals have a policy of not telling, according to the NHS Choices website. The 2014 study of census information suggested sex-selective abortions may be a particular issue in Britain's South Asian communities, where there is a cultural preference for boys.

Prof Savage, a retired obstetrician and gynaecologist who performed 10,000 terminations, said: "Because of this sort of anxiety some places won't tell the woman the sex of the fetus, which is outrageous".

"It's her body and her foetus, so she should have that information".

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Bpas) said it was "totally appalled" by the Mail on Sunday's front page "demonising Wendy Savage, a doctor who has devoted her life to supporting pregnant women".

But the current law only allows women to abort a baby before 24 weeks of pregnancy.

"It's her body. She is the one taking the risks".

"The foetus is a potential human life at that stage; it is not an actual human life. I think you've got to concentrate on the [rights of the] woman".

"We stand by Wendy Savage and are forever grateful for all she has done for pregnant women over a career spanning decades".

Conservative lawmakers, pro-life groups and others quickly responded to her abortion extremism.

Conservative MP Mark Field said: "Suggesting that women should be able to abort babies exclusively because they happen to be either male or, much more usually, female, is utterly abhorrent".

But Tory MP Mark Field said Savage's "extreme views" are a worrying sign. "The majority of people in this country, even those who support abortion, think sex-selective abortion is a step too far".

Experts estimate that as many as 200 million girls are missing world-wide because they were aborted based on their sex.

She also said it was a "woman's right to decide" when to ask for an abortion.

Evidence of the discriminatory practice is especially strong in Asia.

The research group said there is evidence that sex-selection abortions are happening in the US, too.