Gender specific abortion: my response


I've been made aware that some households across the city are receiving leaflets which accuse me of failing to oppose abortion on the grounds of the gender of the unborn child.

The leaflet is being distributed by an organisation called Christian Concern and implies that I condone gender specific abortion. Nothing could be further from the truth:  I am totally opposed to abortion on these grounds. Moreover, it is already illegal.


I am a proud advocate of a woman's right to choose. I voted against a proposal on gender specific abortion from the MP Fiona Bruce because it would have undermined that right. I assume it's this vote to which the leaflets being circulated refer.


The specific wording of Fiona Bruce's proposal sought to confer what she described as “personhood on the foetus" - a move which would criminalise abortion more fundamentally. Similarly deliberate wording has been used as a way of trying to undermine women's rights by the US anti-choice movement. The proposal was also highly likely to harm the very women it purported to protect, including by leading to a likely increase in ethnic profiling when reviewing requests for abortions.


It's wholly wrong for a pregnancy to be terminated on the basis of the parental preference of the sex of the child. This is a grotesque commodification of girls and boys. But there is currently no evidence of skewed gender ratios in the UK to warrant the proposed change to the law. Organisations such as the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and IMKAAN opposed Fiona Bruce's amendment too.


I absolutely and fully stand with those fighting for rights, equality and safety for women and girls. We need to educate against those who believe women are less ‘valuable’ than men. We need to change the status of women in society here in the UK and in countries where sex selection is a widespread problem. To do that we need feminism to challenge inequality and create a global culture where women and girls are safe, valued and loved.


I'd like to assure you that if re-elected I will stand firm against any future attempts by anti-choice MPs to undermine women's reproductive rights.


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