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Let Mothers Abort Babies of the ‘Wrong Sex’ Furore

Let Mothers Abort Babies of the ‘Wrong Sex’ Furore

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There’s been uproar on social media over the weekend after The Mirror and the Daily Mail published articles titled ‘Mums/to-be should be allowed to terminate wrong sex pregnancies‘ and ‘Let mothers abort babies of the wrong sex‘ respectively based on comments made by 81 year old Prof Savage, a former obstetrician and BMA ethics expert.

When I first saw these headlines, I was shocked and appalled as I am sure most  mums women humans would be. I’ve talked about gender disappointment in the past, but surely there are not women out there who would actually abort a child based on their sex?

Then I remembered how sensationalist both these newspapers are and decided to Google what actually had been said. I shouldn’t have been surprised that Prof. Savage’s words had been well and truly twisted.

I visited the BBC news website whose headline was a tamer, ‘Women should be told sex of foetus in pregnancy scan‘. After reading the full article I learnt that Prof. Savage believes:

  • Hospitals withholding the information of the sex of a foetus over fears a woman would terminate that pregnancy due to it being the ‘wrong sex’ were outrageous
  • It is a woman’s right to know what the sex of her baby was.
  • It’s a woman’s right to decide when to ask for an abortion.

Prof. Wendy Savage was speaking this weekend to the Mail on Sunday after MPs last week voted to repeal a bill that criminalises abortion.

As somebody who believes in a woman’s right to decide, I applaud her comments. She did go onto say that the mental health of women who were forced to have a child of a particular sex that they didn’t want, could suffer, as well as the mental health of the unborn child and it’s this point that the sensationalist papers have jumped on. How many women in all honesty are going to choose to abort their child based on its sex? We are talking about very few women who may be already suffering with a mental health issue and in which case, need as much support as they can possibly get.

I think it’s bizarre that many hospitals are refusing to tell parents the sex of their unborn baby blaming lack of staff and fear that women will abort. Considering the gender is usually revealed at a 20 week scan and abortions need to be carried out before 24 weeks (unless there’s a serious medical reason), I hardly think women are going to be able to rush in and abort their growing baby. Think back to when you were 20 weeks pregnant. I’m sure like me, at that point, you were feeling the first kicks, you had spent the last 17 weeks bonding with your growing stomach and the sex of the baby would have had no impact on the love you felt for that child. As for lack of staff, well, if the scan is taking place, then the sonographer is 9/10 going to know pretty much straight away what the sex of the baby is. It’s a pretty indepth scan.

I wish newspapers would stop jumping on one comment and making stories about something other than what they’re meant to be. Prof. Savage is trying to campaign to remove criminal sanctions over abortions in England and Wales. The Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill would mean more women would not be punishable to life imprisonment for carrying out an abortion in their own home. (Currently some women are purchasing pills on the Internet to abort at home because the current law states two doctors must agree there are medical grounds to their abortion.)

I hope Prof. Savage doesn’t receive too much criticism for her well meant comments. As a woman campaigning for women’s rights we should be supporting her and celebrating everything she has achieved in her long career. I hope that one day we see a change in the way newspapers report such stories. Perhaps then we can avoid so much uproar and anger in the future over something that was meant to be supportive towards women.


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  1. 20th March 2017 / 12:29 pm

    Excellent excellent excellent post. 1. Completely right about newspapers and media outlets twisting things. 2. Could not be a stronger supported of a woman’s right to choose. Your body, your choice.


  2. 20th March 2017 / 11:28 pm

    Such an excellent written post. I would never abort a baby full stop never mind if its wrong gender…bloody ridiculous xxx

  3. 21st March 2017 / 8:53 am

    I totally agree with the above comment, I couldn’t abort a child full stop. #KCACOLS

  4. 21st March 2017 / 11:16 am

    A very good point, initially I was taken aback at the idea that anyone would abort based on the sex of the child. But who are we to say they should or shouldn’t do so.

  5. 21st March 2017 / 9:49 pm

    Great points here. Most people won’t have researched what the prof actually said, well done for highlighting this. The tabloid headlines are so sensationalist #KCACOLS

  6. 22nd March 2017 / 5:22 pm

    terrible the way the media portrays things now, but I think society is also to blame. Nobody wants to read anything or do any research. People are happy to see a headline that agrees with their already made up mind or a headline that they can rant over. Its scary #KCACOLS

  7. 23rd March 2017 / 7:00 pm

    WHat a great post. Again, dealing with the sensationalism of the media and the mis-truths and alternative facts. This world is scarier and scarier. #eatsleepblogRT

  8. Lauren Belle Du Brighton
    24th March 2017 / 8:27 am

    Typical sensationalism from the papers isn’t it? I absolutely hate the way they twist things to make stories more ‘interesting’. It is so sad that there are women who would choose to abort a baby based on gender but I know it’s a very very small minority thankfully.

  9. 24th March 2017 / 10:25 am

    I totally agree it is up to the woman, but the thing to bear in mind is that some men will force the woman to terminate based on gender so I think it is also a way of protecting those women. It is tricky for sure. One of our local hospitals doesn’t tell you for that very reason and a good friend of mine said if her husband had known they were having a girl he would have forced her to terminate. She on the other hand couldn’t love that girl more. Good for you for actually digging deeper though, newspapers are terrible for misreporting truths. x

  10. 24th March 2017 / 12:05 pm

    This is why I try to avoid the media where possible, it is completely sensationalised! That said, I know that our local hospital went through a stage of refusing to tell people the sex of their babies as they had seen an influx of abortions amongst the Asian community who only wanted sons. It doesn’t really solve the problem of aborting babies of the wrong sex as I’m sure if somebody desperately wanted to know they would simply pay for a private scan. Personally, I always think if you are so against having a boy or a girl, don’t have a baby. The idea of someone aborting a baby due to their sex doesn’t sit well with me at all.

  11. 24th March 2017 / 4:35 pm

    Typical newspapers! Our local hospital nearly didn’t tell us the sex of our first baby because they had some policy in place. Thankfully I managed to get them to, as I really wanted to know the sex, only because I’m impatient! But I know sadly there are communities that are forced to abort babies for being the wrong sex x

  12. 24th March 2017 / 4:52 pm

    I completely agree with you. Refusing to tell a woman her baby’s gender simply because of a fear that she will abort the sex she doesn’t want is just ridiculous. It’s emblematic of the way women are often treated in society, to take an extremely rare occurrence and use it to justify withholding rights from everyone. Thanks for linking up to #EatSleepBlogRT. Hope you come back next week.

  13. 26th March 2017 / 5:27 pm

    I’ve missed all this in the news but I am not all surprised by how the media twists things! When we went to have our second scan we decided to find out the gender of our baby but my husband wasn’t allowed in the room when I was told the gender which made me really sad. It was due to the community we lived in. #Outsidemywindow

  14. 26th March 2017 / 9:42 pm

    If someone feels that strongly about the gender of their baby then they should have the information to let them make decisions. It is ridiculous that gender, or any medical information, should be held back from a person as they can’t be trusted to make decisions about their own life. #Outsidemywindow

  15. 30th March 2017 / 3:58 pm

    Every baby is precious. From 20 weeks I was scared my baby would not make it due to the anomalies which had shown. My son has complex disabilities and is the light of my life.

    I cannot understand anyone feeling their baby is the “wrong gender”. Life is precious.

    Thanks for linking with #KCACOLS. Do link again on Sunday.

  16. Amie
    31st March 2017 / 12:34 pm

    I was so shocked when I read the first bit! It’s a shame media feels the need to twist and turn something into malice. I would have loved a girl so my oldest could have a close sister but instead we found out we were having her little brother instead. It may not have been the scenario we had envisioned but there’s no way I could have terminated just to try again for a girl!
    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

  17. 31st March 2017 / 11:42 pm

    Wow, a great post! So true re the media twisting things!

  18. 2nd April 2017 / 10:14 pm

    Not a surprise to see the media twisting things and missing positive messages. But I don’t agree that everyone has a right to know their baby’s gender. It’s a nice to know and not critical and as far as I understand is something that radiographers don’t have to do as part of a scan.

  19. 3rd April 2017 / 3:57 pm

    I’d missed all of this in the media. It’s interesting to hear how those comments, which I don’t think many people would disagree with, have been so easily twisted. I have to admit that first time around I definitely thought I wanted a girl, and was surprised when I found out I was having a boy. But I think surely the number of people out there who would consider an abortion on the basis of their child’s sex is so minimal. For me, finding out gave me the chance to get my head around it, and bond with my baby before the birth. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove