in brief: melbourne couple abort girl because they wanted a boy
A Melbourne doctor has revealed that a Victorian couple demanded an abortion because the woman was carrying a girl.
In response, obstetricians have proposed keeping a foetus’s sex a secret until it is too late to terminate the pregnancy.
Dr Mark Hobart revealed in an interview with the Sunday Herald Sun that the couple wanted a referral to an abortion clinic after discovering at 19 weeks that the unborn child was a girl, when they wanted a boy. Dr Hobart refused to give the referral, but the couple nonetheless found a specialist to end the pregnancy.
Dr Hobart defended his decision not to refer the couple to a specialist. Under Victoria’s Abortion Law Reform Act 2008, if a doctor has a moral objection to a woman’s choice to terminate a pregnancy, they must refer her to a doctor who does not have a moral objection.
That specialist was reported to the Medical Board by Dr Hobart, but Victorian law allows doctors to terminate pregnancies up to 24 weeks. The Medical Board will not be pursuing the matter.
President of the National Association of Specialist Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Andrew Foote, suggested that results of chromosomal tests that reveal an embryo’s sex be kept secret until 20 weeks into the pregnancy.
‘The view among my colleagues is they’re definitely against [gender selection],’ he said.
‘But if (patients) were of a view they must have a baby of a particular sex, they could turn up at a termination clinic and say it is for social reasons.’
However, Victoria’s largest abortion provider, the Fertility Control Clinic, told a Senate inquiry that 96 per cent of abortions were performed before 12 weeks’ gestation, when it is too early to know the sex.
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists president Michael Permezel said there was no evidence that babies were being aborted because they were the non-preferred sex.
1 May 2013: Since this article was published, it has come to light that Dr Hobart is pro-life. While this changes the way we may understand his approach to this couple and his reasons for going public, the issue of gender selection is still worthy of discussion. Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
What do you think, Lipsters? Should the sex of an embryo be kept a secret until 20 weeks? Have your say below.