Abortion investigation: Doctor admits procedure tantamount to ‘female infanticide’

One of Britain’s oldest abortion clinics is facing a police
investigation after staff were caught falsifying paperwork and a
doctor admitted that an abortion he was offering was tantamount to
“female infanticide”.

By Holly Watt, Claire Newell and Robert Winnett

The Calthorpe Clinic has been exposed for illicitly completing
abortion forms amid concerns that doctors are not properly consulting
patients before agreeing to terminations. A doctor at the clinic in
Edgbaston, Birmingham, was also secretly filmed offering to arrange an
abortion for a woman who said she wanted to terminate her pregnancy
because the baby was a girl.

“It’s like female infanticide isn’t it?” said Dr Raj Mohan before
agreeing to conduct the procedure. So-called “sex-selection”
terminations are illegal.

Dr Raj Mohan filmed during consultation in which he agreed not to put
down that a woman’s real reason for wanting an abortion was the sex of
the child
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Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, passed a dossier of alleged
malpractice at the clinic to detectives. He also referred concerns
over “criminal” practices at two other abortion clinics to the police
and General Medical Council.

The Daily Telegraph has this week exposed how abortion clinics across
the country are illegally offering to abort foetuses on the basis of
gender. There are growing concerns about such practices taking place
in Britain’s abortion clinics.

It is understood that the NHS watchdog that monitors the clinics, the
Care Quality Commission (CQC), had already alerted the Health
Secretary to concerns over the documentation being used by the
Calthorpe Clinic.

The head of CQC, which also oversees care homes and hospitals,
resigned following a Department of Health report that criticised the
quango.

The Telegraph carried out an investigation into sex-selection
abortions after specific concerns were raised that the procedures were
becoming increasingly common for cultural and social reasons.

The young woman who attended Calthorpe Clinic with The Daily
Telegraph. She is happily pregnant

In an article for this newspaper, Mr Lansley warns doctors that they
will face the “full force” of the law if they break the 1967 Abortion
Act. “Carrying out an abortion on the grounds of gender alone is in my
view morally repugnant,” he writes.

“It is also illegal. Whatever an individual’s opinion on abortion …
laws in this country are decided by Parliament, not by individual
doctors. If some professionals disagree with the law as it stands they
should argue their case for change. Simply flouting them in a belief
that they know better is unacceptable.”

The Health Secretary added: “Anyone indulging in illegal activity must
understand that they are running a great risk. The potential penalty
for breaking abortion legislation is imprisonment. Doctors could be
struck off. And we will not hesitate to pursue any evidence which
comes into our hands.”

Undercover reporters accompanied pregnant women to nine abortion
clinics around the country. Three offered to arrange terminations for
women who said they wanted to end their pregnancy because they were
unhappy with the sex of the baby.

When a woman who was 12 weeks pregnant had an appointment with a
doctor at the Calthorpe Clinic, she explained that she wanted to
terminate her pregnancy because she had discovered she was having a
girl but her and her partner “don’t want a girl”.

The Calthorpe Clinic in Birmingham

“Is that the reason?” asked the doctor, who introduced himself as Dr
Raj. “That’s not fair. It’s like female infanticide isn’t it?”

When the pregnant woman asked if he could put down a different reason
for the termination, the doctor said: “That’s right, yeah, because
it’s not a good reason anytime … I’ll put too young for pregnancy,
yeah?”

The patient agreed, at which point Dr Mohan again said: “It’s common
in the Third World to have a female infanticide.”

He then moved on to discuss the abortion process before asking the
pregnant patient to book an appointment for the termination the
following Monday or Tuesday.

The doctor appeared happy to change the woman’s reason for wanting an
abortion when filling in forms

A nurse at the same clinic was also made aware that the reason for the
abortion was because the patient “did not want a girl” but did not
object to the procedure taking place.

The patient was not offered any counselling and there was no
discussion of the wisdom of her requesting the sex-selection abortion.

The disclosures are likely to lead to growing pressure for pregnant
women considering an abortion to be offered independent counselling.

Mr Lansley says the Government will carry out a consultation on the
issue and stresses that women should have the opportunity for detailed
discussions with professionals.

“We will not only uphold that law, but it is why — in discussion with
all main parties — we are planning to consult on counselling
arrangements for women seeking an abortion,” he said.

“All women seeking an abortion should have the opportunity, if they so
choose, to discuss at length and in detail with a professional their
decision and the impact it may have.”

The Calthorpe Clinic, which declined to comment on the disclosures, is
the third abortion provider to be exposed by The Daily Telegraph for
offering gender-specific terminations. It is one of the country’s
oldest abortion clinics, having been set up in the late 1960s.

Yesterday’s Telegraph disclosed how doctors working at Pall Mall
Medical in Manchester and the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in
London were secretly recorded offering similarly illegal abortions,
leading to widespread concern.

Dr Tony Falconer, president of the Royal College of Obstetrics and
Gynaecology, said: “Anecdotally, there are social and cultural reasons
for preferring one gender over another and we need to know more about
why these occur.

“The issues are complex. For instance, women may be coerced or
threatened with violence into having an abortion. The priority would
be to identify these women and to provide them with support.”

Anthony Ozimic, a spokesman for the Society for the Protection of
Unborn Children, said: “This investigation confirms the reality of
eugenics in modern British medicine, in which some innocent human
beings are deemed too inconvenient to be allowed to live.

“Sex-selective abortion is an inevitable consequence of easy access to
abortion, a situation to which the pro-abortion lobby has no
convincing answer.”

However, Darinka Aleksic, the campaign coordinator of Abortion Rights,
said the criminal practice of a minority should not be used to impose
tighter restrictions.

“It is absolutely vital that abortion providers adhere stringently to
both legal requirements and professional guidelines, so that the
public has confidence in the system,” she said.

“But the fact is, abortion is heavily regulated and strictly licensed
in this country.”