. Earth Science News .

Canada urged to conceal fetal sex over abortion fears
by Staff Writers
Montreal (AFP) Jan 16, 2012

An editorial in a major Canadian medical journal Monday urges doctors to conceal the gender of a fetus from all pregnant women until 30 weeks to prevent sex-selective abortion by Asian immigrants.

A separate article in the same issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal warns that Canada has become "a haven for parents who would terminate female fetuses in favor of having sons" due to advanced prenatal testing and easy access to abortion.

"Female feticide happens in India and China by the millions, but it also happens in North America in numbers large enough to distort the male to female ratio in some ethnic groups," said the editorial by interim editor-in-chief Rajendra Kale.

While few studies have been done to assess how frequent the practice may be among immigrant communities in Canada, the editorial points to research that suggests sex-selection is more common among immigrants from India, China, Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines who already have at least one daughter.

It cites US census data from 2000 that shows male-biased sex ratios among US-born children of Asian parents, and a study of 65 Indian women in the US from 2004-2009 that showed 89 percent of them terminated pregnancies with female fetuses.

Kale told AFP he believes that several hundred sex-selective abortions take place in Canada each year.

"Should female feticide in Canada be ignored because it is a small problem localized to minority ethnic groups? No," said the editorial written by Kale, a Mumbai-born neurologist.

"The solution is to postpone the disclosure of medically irrelevant information to women until after about 30 weeks of pregnancy."

Canada in 2004 outlawed fertility practices that would increase the likelihood that an embryo will be a certain sex, or that would identify an in-vitro embryo by sex for any reason other than to diagnose a sex-linked disorder or disease.

Kale said the Canadian medical establishment needs to go further, and make express rulings that would ban fetal sex disclosure before seven months, when it is too late for an abortion.

He added that doctors should nevertheless "avoid painting all Asians with the same broad brush and doing injustice to those who are against sex selection," but called for collective cooperation by women of all races.

"The execution of a 'disclose sex only after 30 weeks' policy would require the understanding and willingness of women of all ethnicities to make a temporary compromise," he wrote.

"Postponing the transmission of such information is a small price to pay to save thousands of girls in Canada."

The Canadian Medical Association, the country's largest doctors' group with 70,000 members, stressed that editorial viewpoints are not necessarily those of the CMA.

Kale's controversial proposal was welcomed by conservative groups but opposed by the pro-choice advocates who warned that the debate extends much further than sex-selective abortion in minority groups.

"We would absolutely approve of such a ban," said Gwendolyn Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women of Canada. "Is it a right to know the gender of your child if you are going to use this information to kill it?"

Alexia Conradi, head of the pro-choice Women's Federation of Quebec, agreed that abortive sex-selection is "unacceptable," but questioned the motivation of those who support formal measures to prevent it.

"You have to wonder if the act of withholding information is a good thing when the matter is being raised by conservatives in the US and Canada whose goal is to quietly roll back abortion rights."

According to Jessica Arons of the left-wing Washington think-tank the Center for American Progress, the issue raises difficult questions for women's advocates.

"Any types of restrictions on abortion are met with skepticism by the pro-choice community generally," she said.

"A more appropriate intervention with sex-selection is to do more education, especially if we are talking about son preference, rather than seek to limit women's choices or access to information."

Medical ethicist Sam Packer told AFP that any proposal to curb women's right to information would face steep opposition in the United States.

"It is a slippery slope," said Packer, ethics chair at New York's North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System.

"To respect other people's cultural and religious views is why we started this country," he added.

Related Links
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

We May Be Less Happy, But Our Language Isn't
Burlington, VT (SPX) Jan 16, 2012
"If it bleeds, it leads," goes the cynical saying with television and newspaper editors. In other words, most news is bad news and the worst news gets the big story on the front page. So one might expect the New York Times to contain, on average, more negative and unhappy types of words - like "war," " funeral," "cancer," "murder" - than positive, happy ones - like "love," "peace" and "her ... read more

Simulating firefighting operations on a PC

UN aid appeal for Philippine floods falls short

Japan disaster builds international bridges

Still in ruins: Haiti marks two years after quake

Building the smallest magnetic data storage unit

Making Building Blocks For Chemical Industry From Wood While Boosting Production 40 Percent

CES gadgets bringing the "Matrix" to life

Lynas rare earth facility awaits approval

Carbon dioxide affecting fish brains: study

'Ocean giants' ban needed on Italy coasts: environmentalists

Why do dew drops do what they do on leaves?

Scientists Look to Microbes to Unlock Earth's Deep Secrets

Engineering team completes ambitious Antarctic expedition in the 'deep-field'

Denmark names first Arctic envoy

Eyeing resources, India, China, Brazil, Japan, other countries want a voice on Arctic Council

Russian ship to pump fuel to ice-bound Alaska port

Solutions for a nitrogen-soaked world

Not On My Planet: How far is far enough

The fermented cereal beverage of the Sumerians may not have been beer

Prices plunge as China turns sour on top Bordeaux

British scientific expedition discovers world's deepest known undersea volcanic vents

Strong quakes rattle remote Antarctica

World's most extreme deep-sea vents revealed

Death toll in Brazil floods, landslide rises to 33

Sudan rebels say key govt outpost taken

S.African rangers kill poachers in Kruger park

S. Africa slams Security Council over Libya crisis

Somalia: rebels and regional powers in the conflict

How the brain computes 3-dimensional structure

We May Be Less Happy, But Our Language Isn't

Canada urged to conceal fetal sex over abortion fears

Sitting pretty: bum's the word in Japan security


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement