On April 12, We Need a Law was honoured to join Member of Parliament (MP) Cathay Wagantall at her press conference to introduce Bill C-233, the Sex Selective Abortion Act. This private member’s bill seeks to prohibit sex selective abortion. We Need a Law has long advocated against sex-selective abortion, including through our ongoing Defend Girls campaign.
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Below is a transcript of the remarks made by Tabitha Ewert, our legal counsel, at the press conference linked above.
Canada has a rich history of taking seriously the recognition of human rights including the right to be treated equally regardless of sex. We know that at times, we have failed, but part of the beauty of this country is that we will not shy away from self-reflection asking how we ought to change the way we treat other especially those who may not naturally have a voice. We work to correct injustices. And we strive to treasure each and every human being as having equal dignity and worth not just through our words, but in fact.
Parliament has the opportunity to do just that by passing the Sex Selective Abortion Act.
Sex selective abortion is a blow to equality as it devalues a pre-born child just based on her sex. Just as our law prohibits this type of discrimination in other areas, and as equality between the sexes is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, so our law should prohibit the discriminatory practice of sex selective abortion. We cannot as a country claim to strive for equality while ignoring discrimination that occurs at the earliest stages of life.
The fact that even one pre-born child is aborted because of her sex flies in the face of our commitment to equality. The reality that this is indeed happening in Canada requires action. It is a Canadian problem, and it requires a Canadian solution: like the Sex Selective Abortion Act.
I am so thankful for MP Wagantall’s leadership on this issue. For her understanding that if our goal is equality between the sexes that means standing up for all women especially those who cannot speak for themselves. I am thankful for her ability to identify this as an issue that Canadians can rally together in support of. As Canadians we can all agree that it is wrong to abort a girl simply because she is a girl. And I am thankful for her ability to find a way to give our medical professionals a tool to say no to performing sex selective abortions.
I am honoured to stand alongside MP Wagantall today as she works to protect pre-born girls from being targeted based on their sex. This bill will go a long way to ending this injustice here in Canada and it is an important step forward in this country.