There have been calls for an inquiry after minister disclosed that birth rates for girls and boys vary noticeably according to where their mothers were born. It was the first official statistical evidence potentially backing up concerns that sex-selection abortions are being carried out in Britain. Fiona Bruce, the Conservative MP for Congleton, has tabled an early day motion which calls on the Department of Health to ensure the data of aborted foetuses is reported â€œso that statistical evidence of crime cannot be hiddenâ€. The early day motion was also signed by Jim Dobbin, the Labour MP for Heywood and Middleton. Lord Alton of Liverpool, a crossbench peer and former MP who campaigns against abortion, said the Government â€œshould take note of the welcome news that MPs from both sides of the Commons have joined forces to call for an end to the Department of Health's refusal to collect data on sex selection abortionsâ€. â€œIt cannot be right that the lives unborn children are being ended simply on the grounds of its gender and that Ministers and officials refuse to act and assess the data,â€ he said. The Department for Heath last week said there are â€œabsolutelyâ€ no plans to collect data on the sex of unborn babies at the time of abortion because it would raise â€œserious ethical and clinical issuesâ€. Abortions for non-medical reasons are legal until 24 weeks, but terminations on grounds of sex of the foetus are illegal under the 1967 Abortion Act. Mrs Bruceâ€™s early day motion calls on Parliament to join her in registering â€œits profound shock at recent confirmation by the Department of Health that there are discrepancies in the balance between the number of boys and girls born to groups of women from some overseas countries to an extent that `falls outside the range considered possible without intervention'â€. The practice of aborting unborn babies on the basis of sex has long been considered a problem in areas of India and China, where boys are sometimes considered favourable for cultural or economic reasons. There has been little official research on whether the practice is carried out in some of Britainâ€™s immigrant communities. Many hospitals have stopped giving parents information on the gender of their babies until late in the pregnancy. However, blood tests that disclose the sex of a foetus are widely available on the internet or abroad. In 2010 there were 189,574 terminations in England and Wales, an eight per cent increase in the past decade. A Department of Health spokesman said: "Abortion based on sex selection is illegal and is morally wrong. UK birth ratios are within normal limits. However, we continue to closely monitor ratios and we are in the process of analysing preliminary data. If anyone has evidence of sex selection abortions being performed in specific cases, we will refer to the police to investigate. "Identifying the gender of aborted foetuses raises serious ethical and clinical issues. We absolutely have no plans to introduce such a practice."