President of Campaign Life Coalition Jim Hughes.

Campaign Life calls for ban on sex-selective abortion

  • April 15, 2016

TORONTO – Campaign Life Coalition is calling for a ban on sex-selective abortions after a study showed the practice is prevalent in the Indian-Canadian community.

"This is quite appalling," said Jim Hughes, national president of the pro-life organization. "All human life is sacred, it is absolutely precious, right from the time of conception up until natural death. There should be no exceptions, there should be no compromises and no excuses that all human life is sacred and it should be protected from the time of conception onward." 

But that concept is becoming progressively less popular in Canadian society, he said. 

"The whole idea of the sanctity of life, it seems to be dissolving." 

A study released April 11 offers hard evidence of a culture of gendercide, said Hughes. The study, which looked at about 5.9 million recent Canadian births, shows Indian-born mothers appear to be aborting female fetuses at a higher rate than males. Published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the research found that Indian-born mothers living in Canada with two children had 138 boys for every 100 girls compared to the national average of 107 boys for every 100 girls. 

In Ontario, those figures bloom to 196 boys for every 100 girls when it comes to Indian-born mothers with two children. It concluded that this preference for male children may have contributed to as many as 4,400 female fetuses being aborted by Indian-born parents over the past two decades.

The study highlighted the “magnitude of the skewed sex ratios” among Indian immigrants but did not explain why the imbalance exists, said Dr. Marcelo Urquia, lead author of the study. Urquia is an epidemiologist at Toronto St. Michael’s Hospital’s Centre for Research on Inner City Health.

"It is pointing out quite clearly that the third baby is being aborted for their sex," said Mary Ellen Douglas, Campaign Life's national co-ordinator. "It is upsetting to the pro-life movement that any beings aren't being born. Even one is too many." 

Douglas and Hughes said this problem can be credited to a cultural carryover from the parents' homeland, where a preference for male children to carry on the family's legacy is engrained. 

"It travelled from their country of origins to here,” said Hughes. “They (have to) wake up and realize that there is equality here… I don't know if when they came here whether they believed there was equality or if they desire it even." 

It isn't just the pro-life movement speaking out against sex-selective abortions. On April 12 Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario's health minister, said he is "deeply disturbed" by the study's findings and that doctors should not be supporting sex-selective abortions.

"No health-care provider, including physicians, should, in any circumstances, be providing or supporting individuals or families that are attempting to determine the sex of their child in order to secure a sex-selective abortion," he said. "(The behaviour) has no place in Canada, let alone in Ontario." 

Although unwilling to restrict parents learning the sex of their child in the womb — a solution Hughes also doesn’t support as it suggests females deserve greater protection — Hoskins did call on the the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to help curb the practice. 

Hughes on the other hand called on Catholics, specifically clergy and educators, to speak out against this issue by promoting the sanctity of life. 

"We have to stand up and speak out," he said. "That is not going on and it has to. It has to go on in churches and it has to go on in the schools." 

He did praise MP Mark Warawa for attempting to raise this issue in 2014 by putting forward a motion which urged Parliament to condemn sex-selective abortions. Warsaw’s motion was deemed non-votable however.

Hughes said legislation outlawing abortions is the only way to truly protect all unborn babies from being aborted. 

"You have to go right back to the basic principles," he said. "The question is should we be killing either gender and the answer is no." 

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