By Dave Andrusko
A new joint policy statement from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and the Canadian Association of Radiologists calls for “a halt on using ultrasound for the sole purpose of determining the sex of a fetus,” according to Sharon Kirkey of Postmedia News. “The position statement comes amid mounting concerns that in Canada, people are using ultrasound to determine the sex of a fetus early in pregnancy and to have it aborted if it is a girl.”
Sex-selection abortion is a very touchy subject in Canada, which has no abortion law whatsoever.
A survey conducted by Abingdon Research between January and March 2013 showed not only that 87% percent of Canadians think that gender-selection abortion is wrong, but that more than 25% of Canadians say that sex-selection abortions are happening right in their own communities.
The poll’s results, which were not new, came around the time that MP Mark Warawa asked Parliament to issue a simple statement—not a law—declaring “That the House condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination.” But Motion 408 was declared “non-votable” in March 2013.
According to Kirkey, last November the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper condemned gender-selection abortions “while Canada’s leading medical journal has urged medical licensing bodies across the country to rule that doctors should not reveal the sex of the fetus to any woman before about 30 weeks of pregnancy ‘when an unquestioned abortion is all but impossible.’”
As we reported two years ago an editorial that appeared in the Canadian Medical Association written by editor-in-chief Dr. Rajendra Kale called on health care professions not “to reveal the sex of the fetus to any woman before, say, 30 weeks of pregnancy because such information is medically irrelevant and in some cases harmful.” (“Editorial in Canadian Medical Association Says Health Professions should not reveal unborn baby’s sex until 30 weeks”). Kale wrote
“Female feticide happens in India and China by the millions, but also happens in North America in numbers large enough to distort the male to female ratio in some ethnic groups. Should female feticide in Canada be ignored because it is a small problem localized to minority ethnic groups? No. Small numbers cannot be ignored when the issue is about discrimination against women in its most extreme form. This evil devalues women.”
Kale cites studies in both Canada and (a smaller one) in the United States to document his argument that sex-selective abortion has reached North America.