Sex Selection Abortions in Canada: Death Sentence for Girls

Opinion   |   Cathy Cleaver Ruse   |   Jan 24, 2012   |   11:19AM   |   Washington, DC

Recently the interim editor-in-chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal made a radically pro-life proposal: to ban the disclosure to parents of their baby’s sex before 30 weeks gestation in order to save baby girls from abortion.

“A pregnant woman being told the sex of the fetus at ultrasonography at a time when an unquestioned abortion is possible is the starting point of female feticide from a health care perspective,” writes Dr. Rajendra Kale.

Quelle surprise, I know. Canada’s approach to abortion is nearly as extreme as the United States’ in everything but numbers of babies slaughtered. Yet here’s the interim editor of Canada’s top medical journal sounding the alarm on female feticide and trying to fight back. Even her admission that Canada allows “unquestioned abortion” before 30 weeks gestation is worthy of note.

The horrible practice of aborting baby girls due to a preference for sons has come to Canada with the immigrant communities who secretly practice it, though it is not thought to be widespread.

Still, “[s]mall numbers cannot be ignored when the issue is about discrimination against women in its most extreme form,” says Dr. Rajendra Kale, interim Editor-in-Chief of the journal. “This evil devalues women. How can it be curbed? The solution is to postpone the disclosure of medically irrelevant information to women until after about 30 weeks of pregnancy.” Kale advocates that the policy banning sex disclosure before 30 weeks be adopted by the provincial colleges that govern doctors in Canada.

While my first reaction was pleasant surprise, my friend Wesley Smith was more cynical. From his Secondhand Smoke blog:

Oh, so now abortion is “feticide” is it? And here I thought the procedure was called, “right to choose.”

Let me see if I have this right: Committing feticide to better enable lifestyle choices or, say, because a boyfriend has left–fine and dandy. Committing selective feticide to reduce triplets to two triplets and one dead sibling post IVF? Splendid. Eugenic feticide that terminates fetuses diagnosed with Down or some other genetic condition. We should have more, not less. But aborting because you want a boy instead of a girl, that cannot be tolerated! Never mind that 50% of fetuses killed in abortion are female. They may be dead, but they weren’t targeted, so it’s okay.

His point is spot on, of course. But any port in a storm, I guess. I’ll take the illogical, hypocritical anti-girl-abortion-only approach in the hope that the true reason to be horrified – that the baby is a human and not that the baby is a girl – will somehow take root.

For a recent blockbuster study on the incidence of sex-selection abortion in Indian communities in the United States, see the University of California, San Francisco study conducted by Dr. Sunita Puri revealing an 89% abortion rate for women carrying girls. Note: Cathy Ruse is senior fellow for legal studies at the Family Research Council, a national pro-family group that focuses on pro-life issues and opposes abortion.