Sex-selective abortion focus of MP’s motion

by | Oct 2, 2012 | News

By: Shaleni McBain

 The House of Commons shot down MP Stephen Woodworth’s fetus-rights motion last week. COURTESY WIKICOMMONS

The topic of abortion is finding its way back into the limelight in Parliament less than a week after Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s fetus-rights motion was defeated.

The bill came to a vote last week and was defeated 203-91.

The next day, Mark Warawa, an MP from B.C., proposed a motion on Thursday calling on the House of Commons to condemn the practice of sex-selective abortions.

Warawa told Humber News today that the reason for his motion is that 92 per cent of Canadians are against sex-selective abortions.

“Recent studies have shown that the practice of aborting females in favour of males is happening in Canada,” Warawa was quoted as saying in a Huffington Post report.

Warawa’s motion is expected to be debated next spring.

An  editorial published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal earlier this year said that many countries that have put a ban on sex-selective abortions found that the law is hard to enforce and that anyone determined to have male children will find ways around the law.

The journal article by Rajendra Kale proposed not releasing the sex of the fetus to the expecting mother until she is 30 weeks pregnant. At this point, it would be more difficult for a woman to get an abortion, the article said.

Joyce Arthur, Executive Director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, told Humber News on Tuesday the issue of sex-selective abortion is being used as a way to ban all abortions.

“It’s just another desperate attempt by the anti-choice movement to keep the issue alive,” said Arthur.

“It really upsetting because they are missing the important point here, it is not sex-selective abortion, its sex-selection itself,” said Arthur. “The root cause is the sexism in our society. We need to raise the status of women and that is really the only answer to this problem.”

Statistics Canada said that for the year 2003, only 320 abortions were performed on women who were more than 20 weeks pregnant. In cases beyond 24 weeks, abortions were performed when the fetus was deemed to have lethal abnormality.

For a timeline of Canadian abortion laws check out’s, Abortion rights: significant moments in Canadian history.