Doctor guilty of sex-selective abortion suspended for three months


A doctor found guilty of carrying out an abortion simply because the foetus was a girl has been suspended for three months.

Dr Palaniappan Rajmohan, who had been practising in Birmingham, was targeted in a sting operation by reporters from The Telegraph who accompanied pregnant women and secretly filmed the advice that was given.

One woman referred to as Ms A, who was 12 weeks pregnant, told Dr Rajmohan that she wanted to terminate her pregnancy because her and partner "don't want a girl."

"Is that the reason?," the doctor responded. "That's not fair. It's like female infanticide isn't it?"

However when the woman asked if a different reason could be recorded on the form, Dr Rajmohan immediately agreed

"That's right, yeah," he said. "Because it's not a good reason anytime. I'll put too young for pregnancy, yeah?"

The patient agreed.

Dr Rajmohan, of Calthorpe Clinic in Edgbaston, originally faced a criminal prosecution but the case was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) who ruled "it was not in the public interest to pursue."

The CPS then stepped in again to prevent a private prosecution against Dr Rajmohan and a Manchester doctor, also accused of administering abortion on the grounds of sex alone.

However the General Medical Council (GMC) convened a disciplinary panel to decide on Dr Rajmohan's fitness to practice. The hearing found the doctor guilty of recording a false reason for a woman wanting to terminate her pregnancy.

"Despite you apparently believing that the request for a termination of pregnancy was being based on the gender of the foetus, you immediately volunteered to Ms A the alternative reason 'too young for pregnancy' and sought her agreement to this reason," the panel concluded.

"That false reason was so far away from what you knew to be true, that the panel concluded you must have realised at the time that your actions would be considered as dishonest by the ordinary standards of reasonable and honest members of the medical profession."

The panel's chair, Paul Curtis, wrote that it was in the public interest to suspend Dr Rajmohan for three months.

"The panel is in no doubt that your actions have brought the medical profession into disrepute and would be considered deplorable by fellow practitioners," he said.

"As such, the panel is satisfied that your conduct is sufficiently serious as to amount to misconduct.

"The panel has determined it is in the public interest to suspend your registration with immediate effect in order to maintain public confidence in the profession."

Christian public policy charity CARE have welcomed the decision but said more needed to be done to clarify the law on sex-selective abortion.

"This is an important decision and a step in the right direction and it also sends a clear message that aborting a foetus because of its sex is ethically unacceptable," said CEO Nola Leach.

"You have to question the wisdom of the CPS who previously decided not to prosecute.

"At present sex selective abortion is not specified on a legal ground and of course, when the 1967 Abortion Act was drafted, it was not possible to tell the sex of a foetus. Only last November MPs overwhelmingly backed a bid to clarify the current law and we have to recognise technology and medical science has moved on and so the law needs to be corrected.

"While the government might interpret the current law to view gender abortion as illegal, other agencies view it differently so clearly action needs to be taken."

Although Dr Rajmohan was disciplined, the GMC dropped their investigation into Dr Prabha Sivaraman, a second doctor targeted in the undercover filming.

She was recorded telling a patient "I don't ask questions. If you want a termination, you want a termiation."