Australian couples demand `girl-child` abortions

Female foeticide is not only a practice prevalent in India, but has also spread its influence in Australian abortion clinics.

Updated: Apr 28, 2013, 15:36 PM IST

Sydney: Female foeticide is not only a practice prevalent in India, but has also spread its influence in Australian abortion clinics where doctors have revealed that they are facing parents` requests to know the sex of unborn babies and demands for abortion if and when it is a girl child.

A Melbourne couple reportedly aborted their child at 19 weeks as soon as they discovered that they were having a girl when they wanted a boy, the News Limited reports.

According to the report, the gynecologist Dr. Mark Hobart`s refusal to give the couple a referral to an abortion clinic did not stop them from getting their child aborted within a few days.

Hobart said that the husband was more insistent on the abortion as he did not want a girl childand even on reporting the matter to the Medical Board, the doctor did not receive much help as the Board said that Victorian doctors are allowed to terminate pregnancies of up to 24 weeks.

Meanwhile, the Senate committee is inquiring draft legislation by Democratic Labor Party senator John Madigan that focuses on banning Medicare rebates for gender-selective abortions, where the investigation will also analyze the prevalence of gender bias and the preference for a male child amongst some ethnic groups in Australia.

The report further said that President of The National Association of Specialist Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Andrew Foote believes that if laboratories performing chromosomal tests during pregnancy are banned from revealing the embryo`s gender until after 20 weeks, except in cases of gender-based diseases such as Haemophilia, then it will provide for a `reasonable safeguard` against gender selections.

However, Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton said that women had the right to know everything about their pregnancy.

While the fact remains that the Fertility Control Clinic has told the Senate inquiry that 96 percent of abortions are performed before 12 weeks` gestation, when it is too early to know the sex, the clinic`s psychologist, Dr Susie Allanson, has said that the patients rarely make requests for gender-based abortions but a mother cannot be stopped from going elsewhere and demanding abortion with a different reason.

Meanwhile, the president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists , Michael Permezel said that there was no evidence that doctors performedabortions because babies were of the wrong sex.