NRI doctors under fire for attempted girl abortion in UK

NRI doctors under fire for attempted girl abortion in UK

The UK has decided not to bring charges against two Indian-origin doctors who were caught last year on video agreeing to perform an illegal sex-selective abortion.

However, health ministry has stepped in demanding a review of the case of Dr Raj Mohan and Dr Prabha Sivaraman and Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has referred the case to the attorney general after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided not to bring charges against the two doctors.

"We are clear that gender selection abortion is against the law and completely unacceptable. This is a concerning development and I have written to the attorney general to ask for urgent clarification on the grounds for this decision," Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said here yesterday.

The two doctors were filmed as part of an investigation by 'The Daily Telegraph' last year agreeing to arrange terminations for women who requested them purely because they said they did not want to have a baby girl.

At the Calthorpe Clinic in Edgbaston, Birmingham, Dr Mohan had been filmed agreeing to conduct the procedure even though he told the pregnant woman: "It's like female infanticide, isn't it?"

Dr Sivaraman, who worked for both private clinics and NHS hospitals in Manchester, was recorded telling a woman: "I don't ask questions. If you want a termination, you want a termination."

Dr Sivaraman has restrictions imposed on her practice, according to the General Medical Council's (GMC) register of doctors.

The conditions, which run from March 9, 2012 to September 8, 2013, include that "she must not authorise any termination of pregnancy or carry out any termination of pregnancy work, either by consultation or surgery".

Sex-selection abortion is banned in the UK but the practice is believed to be prevalent under the radar among certain Asian communities in the country, including Indians and Chinese, where boys are sometimes considered preferable for cultural or economic reasons. The 'Telegraph' had mounted an investigation and published its results in February 2012 acting on specific information, sending out undercover reporters with pregnant women to nine clinics in different parts of the country.

The CPS had then concluded that even though the terminations did not go ahead there was enough evidence to prosecute Dr Mohan and Dr Sivaraman for an attempted breach of the Abortion Act.

But Jenny Hopkins, deputy chief crown prosecutor for London, said this week that it "would not be in the public interest" to prosecute the doctors.

"Taking into account the need for professional judgement which deals firmly with wrongdoing, while not deterring other doctors from carrying out legitimate and medically justified abortions, we have concluded that the cases would be better dealt with by the GMC rather than by prosecution," she said.

"In coming to this conclusion, we have also taken into account that in these cases no abortion took place or would have taken place," Hopkins added.

Scotland Yard confirmed that it has closed its investigation into the two doctors.
"We can confirm the Metropolitan Police Service have been advised by the CPS that there should be no further action in relation to this matter, therefore our investigation is complete," a spokesperson said.

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