Health written question – answered on 22nd January 2014.

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Photo of Jim Dobbin Jim Dobbin Labour, Heywood and Middleton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he is satisfied that the guidance contained in the Chief Medical Officer's letter to GPs and hospitals on the illegality of sex-selective abortions has been followed; and if he will publish the evidence upon which he bases that judgement.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Abortion on the grounds of gender alone is illegal.

We expect doctors to take account of guidance from the chief medical officer (CMO), and under the 1967 Abortion Act it is for two doctors to satisfy themselves in good faith that there are grounds for an abortion, and to defend their decision if challenged.

The Department will continue to monitor birth ratios by mothers' country of birth on an annual basis and also examine other sources of information and evidence. Birth data for the year following the CMO letter of February 2012 have not yet been analysed. Any specific allegations about gender-selective abortions being undertaken will be reported to the police.

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