A Private Members Bill proposed in the Canadian Parliament that would outlaw sex-selective abortion, has received its second reading. An e-petition signed by over 10,000 Canadians in support of the Bill has also been tabled in the Canadian House of Commons.
Bill C-233, which has been brought forward by Conservative Member of Parliament Cathay Wagantall, would make it a criminal offence to perform an abortion in the knowledge that it is sought on the grounds of the child’s biological sex. Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has stated he will not support the bill put forward by his fellow party member.
A “haven” for sex-selective abortion
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated: “While the leader of the Opposition is allowing an anti-abortion bill to be introduced, our government has, and always will, defend women’s reproductive choice in Canada”.
A 2012 report from the Canadian Medical Association Journal called Canada a “haven” for sex-selective abortion.
It found that: “Easy access to abortion and advances in prenatal sex determination have combined to make Canada a haven for parents who would terminate female fetuses in favour of having sons, despite overwhelming censure of the practice, economists and bioethics experts say”.
Standing against gender inequality
Tabitha Ewert, the legal counsel for the grassroots campaign We Need a Law wrote: “While we may differ on our stance toward abortion, we should still be able to stand side-by-side against sex-selective abortion, as we all have an interest in standing against gender inequality”.
Regarding her bill, Wagantall said: “The truth of the matter is if we’re really concerned about equality between men and women, and human rights – which [in] Canada we say this is a very high priority for us – then we can’t say that we value at this point but not the other”.
In an opinion piece published ahead of April’s debate, she wrote: “Sex-selective abortion is wrong, but it happens in Canada because we have no law against it. We are the only democratic country in the world to lack a sex-selection law. In fact, our only bedfellow in this regard is North Korea. That is why I introduced Bill C-233 in February of last year”.
A similarly-worded Bill was proposed to the Canadian Parliament in 2012 by the late Mark Warawa MP but was rejected.
Right To Life UK Spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “The progress of Bill C-233 is welcome news. It is shocking that in such a self-professed progressive nation as Canada, abortion on the basis of sex is legally permitted. It is equally disappointing that both PM Trudeau and the Leader of the Opposition have outright refused to support the Bill because of their pro-abortion views”.
“Their views are way out of line with where the Canadian public are with this issue, with polling showing that 84 per cent of the general public oppose abortions due to an unborn child’s sex”.