Scottish Hospitals Concerned About Sex Selective Abortions


Some health boards in Scotland no longer tell pregnant women the sex of their unborn baby partly because of fears that some women would seek an abortion if their baby’s sex is not what they wanted.


Four NHS boards — Grampian, Forth Valley, Orkney and Shetland — do not reveal the unborn baby’s sex. Hospital staff who have been unable to tell whether the child was a boy or a girl have been verbally abused, and some parents are paying for private scans to find out.


NHS Grampian said that it had stopped offering the service after sonographers received “verbal abuse” when they could not determine the sex of the unborn child. Posters in hospital waiting rooms advise non-gender testing, according to a spokesman for the health board. The NHS Grampian spokesman added that a new line was to be inserted in policy documents which would state that “gender is not determined” unless there was a medical condition identified in the womb.


Hospitals in Orkney and Shetland also refuse to reveal the baby’s sex during scans. “It is not our policy to look for the sex,” a spokesman for NHS Orkney said. NHS Shetland’s scans “do not include gender”, according to their response under a freedom of information request.


NHS Forth Valley’s sonographers “do not look for or inform the prospective parents of the sex of the unborn baby,” according to the health board.


A midwife who asked not to be named, said: “There were threats of legal action if we got it wrong. And some women no longer nurtured the pregnancy if they were told it was a girl.” 

The Times. February 4.

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