Selective abortions hit the headlines

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 17 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:380

British prolife campaigners won an injunction to stop a termination that had already happened and a woman carrying eight fetuses was seeking publicity offers worth up to £1m ($1.5m), as obstetrics collided with the August “silly season” in the media last week.

In the first case, reports early in the week that a 28 year old woman pregnant with twins was considering aborting one of them snowballed into a huge media storm. With one child already, the unmarried woman was said to be in “straitened circumstances” and felt she could manage one baby but not two. Antiabortion groups and well wishers pledged £60 000 to persuade her to keep the second twin, and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children went to the High Court after the hospital involved, Queen Charlotte's in west London, refused to pass on the offers to her.

There is no legal right for a third party (or …

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