In what is believed to be the first case of its kind to come to court in the U.K., a summons has been issued to a doctor accused of offering to authorize an illegal 'gender-abortion'.
The case is being supported by Britain's Christian Legal Centre.
Dr Prabha Sivaraman last week was ordered to appear before Manchester and Salford Magistrates' Court in December to face an accusation of conspiracy to procure an unlawful abortion.
She was caught offering abortion on the grounds of gender, during an undercover investigation by a national newspaper in 2012.
However, after a lengthy police investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service took the surprising decision not to proceed with the case - despite finding that there was sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.
The decision not to prosecute attracted widespread criticism from across the political spectrum.
But last month, 21-year-old Aisling Hubert, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, launched a rare private prosecution of Dr. Sivaraman and of a second doctor in Birmingham.
Now the Magistrates' Court in Manchester has ordered the Doctor to appear next month to face a charge of "conspiracy to procure poison to be used with intent to procure abortion, contrary to section 59 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861."
'Turning a blind eye'
Miss Hubert (pictured) welcomed the development saying "Gender-abortion is a horrible practice. I took this dramatic step because those who should have done so were effectively turning a blind eye."
"Again we have seen the establishment stand silent in the face of the abortion industry, hoping that the horrors will be swept under the carpet and the problems go away. But justice demands that something is done and that people are held to account for their actions. The law can only protect if it is enforced," she explained.
News of the summons comes as MPs backed a Bill last week confirming that 'gender-abortion' is illegal.
'Overwhelming public support'
A ComRes poll commissioned by Christian Concern and published last week, revealed overwhelming public support for prosecution of doctors who approve 'gender-abortions'. According to the poll, 80% of British adults agree that "where it can be proved that an abortion was authorised on grounds of the baby's gender, the doctor authorising that abortion should be prosecuted."
Commenting on the poll, Aisling said: "I am reassured that the vast majority of the British public is behind me as I seek to secure justice for unborn baby girls."
'Too frightened to stand up'
Andrea Minichiello Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre which is supporting Aisling, said:
"There has been public outcry over revelations of gender-abortion in the UK but no official action has been taken against the doctors. We are proud to stand with this brave young woman as she battles for justice for unborn children and shames those who should have done so. The establishment has become complicit with the abortion industry because it is too frightened to stand up to it."
'Failure to prosecute'
The CPS announced its decision not to prosecute last year saying that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the doctors - but claiming that doing so would not be in the public interest.
The decision provoked cross-party concern. The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said: "This is a concerning development and I have written to the Attorney General to ask for urgent clarification on the grounds for this decision."
Labour's Shadow Attorney General, Emily Thornberry, wrote to the Director Public Prosecutions (DPP), saying: "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 [to] prosecute because a regulator can hear the matter instead is to disapply the law and undermine the will of Parliament. "
Liberal Democrat Peer and former DPP, Lord Macdonald described the decision as "very dubious" and said that it risked "undermining the principle that everyone is equal under the law."
The Government has written to doctors stating that abortion solely on the grounds of gender is illegal (1). However, the UK's largest abortion provider, BPAS, disputes that, claiming that the law is 'silent on the matter' (2). The British Medical Association has suggested that abortion on the grounds of gender may be legal in some circumstances (3).
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