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Call for Ban

The UK's Labour Party wants to ban the use of non-invasive prenatal tests to tell parents the sex of their baby, BBC News reports. It adds that Labour wants to prevent the use of such testing for sex-selective abortions.

According to BBC News, the National Health Service will only be using NIPTs to test for genetic conditions, such as Down syndrome. However, it notes that parents-to-be can pay privately for testing, about £150 to £200 (US $197 to $263), to learn the sex. The Labour party tells the BBC that it fears that such testing might pressure women in certain communities to have abortions where boys are preferred over girls.

"NIPT screenings should be used for their intended purpose, to screen for serious conditions such as Down's syndrome," Naz Shah, a Labour MP and shadow women and equalities minister, tells BBC News. "The government needs to look into this exploitative practice and enforce appropriate restrictions."

The health department tells the BBC that it is continuing to review the evidence, and a spokesperson adds that the test was never intended to be used to reveal sex.