A Canadian MP is pushing parliament to denounce sex-selection abortions at a time when studies show women are using ultrasounds to determine the sex of unborn children for the purposes of sex-selection abortions.
Conservative MP Mark Warawa’s private member’s motion would ask the House of Commons to condemn sex-selection abortions. He says it is needed because the practice discriminates against women.
However, leaders of the NDP and Liberal parties claim the motion is just an attempt to get Parliament to debate the issue of abortion. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says Warawa’s bill should be viewed with skepticism.
The Globe and Mail has more details:
Mark Warawa, who represents the riding of Langley in British Columbia, and 11 of his caucus colleagues held a news conference on Wednesday to promote Mr. Warawa’s motion M-408 which calls upon the House of Commons to “condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination.”
That puts members of the opposition in a difficult spot. Although they are suspicious that the motion is another attempt from the Conservative backbench to clamp down on abortion, and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said his MPs will vote against it, no politician wants to be seen as sanctioning the practice of ending pregnancies simply because the fetus is female.
The point is not lost on Mr. Warawa, who said he expects every Member of Parliament lend their support. “They should,” he said, “because who could not condemn discrimination against women and girls?”
His motion could be put to a first vote in the Commons as early as February.
“The practice of aborting females in favor of males is happening here is Canada,” he said, though the MP acknowledged he did not know how widespread the practice is or how many girls are aborted in Canada because of their sex.
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An April study from researchers in Canada suggests that women of Indian origin living in Ontario are likely using prenatal screenings to determine the gender of their children and are aborting their female babies out of a preference for males.
“Our findings raise the possibility that couples originating from India may be more likely than Canadian-born couples to use prenatal sex determination and terminate a second or subsequent pregnancy if the fetus is female,” according to the study published on April 16 by the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Researchers in the study said that on average there are 105 males born for every 100 females, but among Indian-born mothers having a second child, the ratio was 111 males to 100 females, and it jumped to 136 males to 100 females for the third child.
While researchers found that the male to female ratio of children born to women who had more than one child was significantly higher among those from India, immigrants from South and East Asia in general were more likely than their Canadian-born counterparts to give birth to a male infant.
The study, which was led by Dr. Joel Ray, a physician at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, also cited previous research showing a preference for males among Indian born women, and suggested that cultural factors may contribute to the skewed gender ratios.
“An interesting finding in our study was the difference in the male:female ratios between parous women born in India and those born in Pakistan. Although they are neighbouring countries, India is a secular state, whereas Pakistan is an Islamic state in which abortion is religiously prohibited.”