Conservative MP Cathay Wagantall

Sex-selective abortion bill defeated in House of Commons

By 
  • June 3, 2021

Conservative MP Cathay Wagantall’s bill to ban sex-selective abortions in Canada was defeated in the House of Commons by a 248-82 margin June 2.

Among those voting against Bill C-233 were Conservative leader Erin O’Toole and about one-third of the Conservative caucus.

Bill C-233 would have made it a crime for a “medical practitioner to perform an abortion knowing that the abortion is sought solely on the grounds of the child’s genetic sex.” These abortions disproportionately target a girl in the womb.

“MP Wagantall is to be commended for bringing the issue of sex-selective abortion into the open,” said Tabitha Ewert, legal counsel for We Need a Law, which actively supported the bill. “This is an ugly reality in Canada, where girls are aborted simply because they are girls. We need to address sex-based discrimination in every form, including at life’s earliest stages, and MPs missed an important opportunity to do that today.”

During debate speakers from all parties said they abhor the practice but were unwilling to undo a woman’s right to abortion. They argued it was a tactic to bring in more abortion restrictions.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted after the vote, “81 members of the Conservative Party voted in favour of anti-choice legislation today. It is completely unacceptable that they will not support, protect or defend a woman’s right to choose.”

Other MPs, including Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan and women’s and gender minister Maryam Monsef made similar comments to Trudeau, eliciting a Twitter response from Wagantall.

“You don’t stand up for baby girls in the womb, equality or human rights. You don’t represent the majority of Canadian women. You represent 16% of Canadians who are pro-abortion any time 4 any reason. #regressive #shameful.”

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