It's not a crime to be a girl
The Calgary Herald - June 21, 2012 3:04 AM
It is impossible to watch CBC-TV's report on private ultrasound clinics and their role in abetting gender-selective abortions, without feeling sickened by it.
A baby girl should be as welcome an addition to the family as a baby boy. Sadly, in some communities in Canada, she is not.
Abortions of female fetuses have been documented in India and else-where; indeed, millions of girls are said to be missing in India alone, because of the cultural preference for boys.
Now, a CBC-TV investigation has revealed that, out of 22 private ultra-sound clinics across Canada, the staff at almost two out of three were willing to perform an ultra-sound for gender early in the second trimester of pregnancy when abortions can still be obtained. Although no federal law stipulates a cut-off age for abortions, 20 weeks is generally considered the accepted maximum. Doctors also typically don't tell parents the sex of their fetus until the 20-week mark has passed.
In April, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published a study that showed women who had been born in India, but who gave birth in Canada, were "significantly more likely to have male babies for their second and third births compared with women in Canada."
Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto found that for Indian women having their third child, the ratio was 136 boys to 100 girls born, while Canadian-born women gave birth to 105 boys for every 100 girls.
The solution is a multi-pronged one. Education is part of the answer. Parents from cultures that have tradition-ally strong preferences for males need to be taught that, in Canada, women are equal to men, and that the arrival of a baby girl is as joyous an occasion as the birth of a boy.
Ultimately, however, we agree with the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, which is calling for a ban on what are known as entertainment ultrasounds. Dr. Michiel Van den Hof, society spokes-man, bluntly says: "We do not at all condone sex selection by pregnancy termination. And we oppose it vehemently."
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