On International Women’s Day, Condemn Gendercide: Sex-Selection Abortions Targeting Baby Girls

Opinion   |   Anna Nienhuis   |   Mar 8, 2016   |   5:20PM   |   Ottawa, Canada

International Mountain Day, World Meteorological Day, and World Migratory Bird Day are among the plethora of “International Days” that are meaningless to, and ignored by, most of the world’s population. I would suggest that this is exactly as it should be.  These International Days of Everything need to be pared down dramatically so that the days that matter can stand out.

One of those that matter is International Women’s Day. This globally recognized event is marked every March 8th around the world; its theme is one that remains highly relevant. International Women’s Day holds specific, unique meaning in every nation. Women’s rights issues may be a global reality, but the manifestation of that is in no way a global experience.

In Canada, women have it pretty good compared to many other places around the world. Women’s choices are generally protected and their active participation in society is encouraged and welcomed.  While not discounting ongoing issues such as trafficking, wage disparity and sexism in the workplace (though this social experiment by Coquitlam, BC’s mayor does bear mentioning), in some cases women actually have more options than men. For example, women are able to become pregnant and bring new life into the world, and while a man may need to be involved, he can never be the one at the finish line.

Instead of recognizing the beauty and miracle of this biological reality, however, women and men alike have focused on another choice: abortion. International Women’s Day reminds us that women in Canada have come so far that they have the right to kill their dependent, pre-born children for any reason imaginable. This, some insist, is necessary to equality.

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In an ironic turn of events, according to a 2012 study by the CBC, girls are the ones targeted in abortions in larger numbers than boys, even in Canada.

Gendercide, as this sex-selective abortion is called, is often heavily influenced by fathers and husbands pressuring a woman to have boys. We strive to give living women increased equality, but are willing to sacrifice our daughters to the fight, and devalue their mothers in the process.

Allowing a decriminalized approach to abortion for any or no reason, Canada, by default, supports sex-selective abortion. Our governments, past and present, are unwilling to address a status quo that allows abortion simply because the pre-born child is a girl. Not only is this a disservice to women, it directly impacts the value we place on future women, as we tell them that what makes them unique from a man is also what makes them less than a man.

By being staunchly opposed to any abortion restriction on principle, abortion advocates become unwilling to cede even laws that would protect women and girls. Real valuing of women means doing what is best for them no matter how that impacts your professional reputation. But many politicians and abortion advocates are unwilling to entertain such discussions out of fear. The fear that condemning gendercide could possibly weaken an argument in support of women’s rights is absurd, yet that belief persists.

We still need International Women’s Day for many reasons, also here in Canada. Women’s rights begin in the womb, and sex-selective abortion is an affront to the dignity and equality of women and girls. It’s time for Canada to get in line with every other country around the world by enacting policies that condemn gendercide as a legitimate reason to end a pregnancy. What better day to begin the conversation than International Women’s Day.

LifeNews Note: Anna Nienhuis is the policy and research coordinator for WeNeedaLAW.ca, a grassroots campaign building support for laws protecting children in the womb.