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.@EmilyThornberry calls for DPP to review CPS decision not to prosecute over gender-selective abortions

Emily Thornberry MP, Labour’s Shadow Attorney General, has today written to the Director of Public Prosecutions to request an urgent review of the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service not to prosecute two doctors for attempting to arrange gender-selective abortions.

The full text of the letter is below:

Mr Keir Starmer QC
CPS Director of Public Prosecutions
Rose Court
2 Southwark Bridge
London
SE1 9HS

Dear Keir

I am writing to request that you carry out an urgent review of the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service not to prosecute two doctors for attempting to arrange gender-selective abortions. As I understand it, the evidential test of the Crown Prosecutors Code had been met in these cases but prosecutors decided that it would not be in the public interest to bring them to court because they could be brought before the General Medical Council (GMC) instead.

As you will know, the GMC is a regulator and cannot bring criminal proceedings. The provisions of the Abortion Act 1967 are crystal clear. The conduct of abortions for reasons not stated in that Act is a criminal offence, not just a regulatory one. To decide not prosecute because a regulator can hear the matter instead is to disapply the law and undermine the will of Parliament.

Furthermore, the CPS under your directorship has made tackling violence against women and girls a priority. Such progress as has been made in this area will be completely undermined if the agency is seen to wash its hands of alleged abortion on the grounds of gender selection.

I would like to know if you or any of your senior advisors approved the decision not to prosecute. I would also like to see that decision subjected to an urgent review at the highest level within the CPS and for you to make a public statement clarifying the CPS’s stance on prosecuting these offences. I am copying into this letter the Attorney General.


Best wishes




Emily Thornberry MP

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