Gender specific abortion among South Asian families is a widespread phenomenon, and everyone has turned a blind eye to it in the hopes that it will disappear within a generation or two
A study has found that some Indian-born immigrants to Canada are selectively aborting female fetuses, with rates depending on the number of children already in the family. Researchers say that preventative action may not be necessary as the rates of these incidents are generally low.
As immigrants become settled, they tend to stray away from practices such as these. But as new immigrant families come to Canada, it’s possible that they could continue this practice.
Gender specific abortion in Canada
It’s measurable, and it’s an unpleasant truth.
India, along with many other societies and cultures, placed heavy favoritism on having a son. This has caused issues in India that led to legislative changes that prevented parents from knowing the gender of their unborn baby, out of fear that the parents may opt out of having a daughter
The study focuses on fairly specific groups of Indian women. Through tracking more than a million births over a decade of anonymous medical records from the province of Ontario, they dug up some numbers on Indian-born mothers who already had two daughters, a small subsection of our society.
The study found that of these women, their third child was a boy 66% of the time. This is obviously higher than the typical near 50/50 split one would expect in this type of situation.
The study also revealed that Indian-born mothers with two daughters who have already had a history of one or more abortions, give birth to males 77% of the time, a number that may begin to raise eyebrows.
The most recent numbers appear to be the most revealing. If an Indian-born mother with two daughters had an abortion before the third child was born, for every 100 girls born, there were 326 boys; 409 boys if the mother had multiple abortions.
If the woman had an abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy or later when an ultrasound can determine the sex of the fetus there were 663 boys for every 100 girls.
Ontario hospitals take notice
It seems as though hospitals in Ontario are taking some notice to these practices. Recently, 6 Toronto-area hospitals have stopped revealing the gender of babies to potentially curb the suspected gender-based abortions in the area.
We already know for a fact that in India, parents are no longer allowed to know the gender of their unborn child, a legislative move by the Indian government to prevent parents from aborting girls, as there had been a noticeably higher rate of boys being born.
This has led to Indian parents going to other countries, such as Thailand, to receive their legal gender reveal, and take action as they deem appropriate.
With all of this considered, you might think one of our major political parties would have mentioned this as a potential issue within our immigrant communities, but all is silent on the gender-based abortion front.
One can see why it’s such a taboo. Abortion in Canada is a right, under any and all circumstances, the right that women battled hard for until 1988 and continue to champion to this day.
It becomes a sloppy, unattractive, ethical minefield when debated.
Feminists fight for the right of women to have abortions, but what happens when that law begins to prevent the birth of future Canadian girls, just for the fact that they’re girls?
Abortion has always been a sensitive issue, and that does not appear to be going away any time soon. It’s more than just a woman’s issue. It’s overall, an ethical issue, the most recent studies finding that men and women generally have similar attitudes towards abortion rights.
We all know the talking points. At what point does a fetus become a human? Does the fetus have individual rights? Is there a time-frame in which abortions are ethical? Are abortions in the 3rd trimester (a fairly rare occurrence outside of cases in which there are serious medical concerns) any more egregious than having an abortion a week after conception?
Is no politician willing to take this issue on?
Scheer, the most pro-life candidate in this coming election, would face serious problems taking this issue on without stepping on the toes of feminists, those who believe in the woman’s right to choose, and the Indian and other Asian communities that make up the ethnic vote, which have been historically important.
There is absolutely no reason for Trudeau to bring this issue to the forefront, as it would only lose him votes, and would more than likely not win over the hearts of conservatives to vote for him.
Jagmeet Singh is already on the record as saying, “I don’t believe we should support any organization whose agenda it is to in any way infringe on reproductive rights.” Singh also recently denounced pro-life comments made by his most senior NDP MPs.
The researchers behind this study tend to be on the optimistic side, believing that it is a non-issue, and that as immigrants become more aligned with Canadian values, the trend will disappear. While most would surely hope that this is the case, only time can tell.
What do you think? If you’re pro-choice, what’s your opinion on gender-based abortions? Should they be given merit, or is there something particularly immoral about them, in your eyes?