Sex-Selection Abortion – Gender based violence that needs to be called out

Home 9 Blog 9 Sex-Selection Abortion – Gender based violence that needs to be called out

LifeCanada recently spoke with Mrs. Cathay Wagantall an elected Member of Parliament for Yorkton-Melville, Saskatchewan, for the Conservative Party of Canada. Since her election in 2015, Cathay has stood up for the most vulnerable in society and worked to defend and protect the fundamental rights freedom of conscience, religion, belief, and expression. She is a member of the Inter-Parliamentary Committee on Ending Human Trafficking in Canada, as well as the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus. In 2015 she tabled the Private Member’s Bill, “Cassie and Molly’s Law”, which sought to protect mothers and their pre-born children. Now she has introduced her second Private Members’ Bill, the Sex Selective Abortion Act. The issue of sex-selection abortion is actually one of monumental proportions and consequences. Although the practice is universally condemned, it is hard to understand why more attention has not been given to this issue, and also why there is not overwhelming bi-partisan support for such a bill. Just to put this in perspective, Mara Hvistendahl, in her Pulitzer Prize winning book Unnatural Selection remarks how researchers studying demographics have tried to alert the world to this practice – but to almost deaf ears. Here’s a comparison that she and other researchers have used to try to elucidate this issue. She writes,

AIDS has claimed an estimated 25 MILLION PEOPLE worldwide – a mere fraction of the number of missing females. Suffice to compare the issues to gauge the relative lack of interest that the female deficit has attracted. In 2008, the HIV virus commanded fully one fourth of the global spending on health. AIDS has the attention of nongovernmental organizations, policy makers and schoolchildren around the world. It boasts its own UN agency. Sex selection remains mostly invisible, however, a more pervasive and yet quieter epidemic, observed only by demographers scrutinizing birth registration records years after the fact – and, of course, by the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of people who live or will live in communities where women are scarce.

What’s happening with sex-selection abortion in Asia and Eastern Europe is ‘epidemic’ and it is spreading. We’re talking about 160 MILLION missing girls worldwide. In Canada today, it is hard to believe there would be such a practice which is not only not being denounced as the ultimate discrimination by our political leaders, but which is not being resisted in law. Mara Hvistendahl, a self-described agnostic who considers herself “pro-choice”, notes also that this is not an issue that is solely about sexist beliefs and practices. In Unnatural Selection, she writes that

Sex selective abortions may sometimes correlate with other sexist practices, but sex selection always correlates with readily available abortions.

In other words, it needs to be called out for what it is – an abortion-related issue that exists when and where medicine becomes modernized such that women can seek and receive ultrasounds to determine the sex of their unborn child, and a corresponding abortion if the baby is found to be a girl. It also needs to be called out as gender-based violence that has no place in Canadian society, and should be resisted to the full extent of the law. Polling  would definitely corroborate this point. LifeCanada has run two national polls on the issue. In our 2011 Environics Poll, when asked “Should sex-selected abortions be legal or not legal in Canada?”, 92% of the respondents replied that it should not be legal. In our 2019 National Poll with Public Square, we found that only 2% of Canadians support sex selection abortions. Polling conducted for the National Post in 2019 shows, similarly, that 84% of Canadians believe the practice should be against the law. With numbers like these, again we ask, how is it that this issue would not gain bi-partisan support? Religious groups have called out this practice and have supported Cathay Wagantall’s Bill C-233, but where are the feminist and gender equality groups? Where is their voice in denouncing this violence and helping to support politicians who would like to stand against it? It is interesting to note that Parliament recognized the risk of sex selection when it passed the Assisted Human Reproduction Act in 2004. This act prohibits doing “anything that would ensure or increase the probability that an embryo will be of a particular sex, or that would identify the sex of an in vitro embryo.” Clearly, it was understood that being able to gender-select your offspring would not only be discriminatory, but also skew the delicate, natural balance of males and females within the population.   Add to this the fact that the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada issued an official statement that they do “not support termination of pregnancy on the basis of gender,” one wonder at the resistance of our leaders. However, is it all that surprising when one considers just how much abortion has become a ‘sacred cow’ in our culture – a hallmark of radical feminist ideology. Cathay Wagantall’s Bill would empower medical professionals and give them a law to point to in order to refuse to perform a sex-selective abortions. It does put the force of the law behind doctors who are rightfully unwilling to terminate the lives of little girls, just because they are in fact girls. If Bill C-233 became law, it would also demonstrate to all Canadians, that whether they are born in this country or whether they they have immigrated here, we have certain principles and values that we uphold, namely that girls’ lives are as worthy and valuable as boys’- that equality rights are something we take seriously. What a great example of upholding the equality and the rights of women we can be giving to the entire world.