August 12, 2022

Gendercide becomes an issue in Canada

Indian immigrants bring sex-selection with them.

The problem of gendercide has spread from India to Canada, researchers claim in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). A statistical analysis of births in Ontario found that the male-to-female sex ratio at birth — which ranges between 1.03 to 1.07 naturally — is as high as 1.96 if an Indian-born woman already had two daughters.

The researchers believe that over the past 20 years, there are 4,472 “missing” girls in Canada as a result of a preference for males amongst Indian immigrants. This happens mostly when both parents were born in India.

Researchers looked at data on more than 1.2 million births in women with having a third child in Ontario between 1993 and 2012. Of these, 153,829 (12.6%) were immigrant women from Asia.

Among women born in India who already had two girls, the ratio of male to female babies for the third birth was almost double the average, with 196 boys born for every 100 girls. If an Indian-born mother with two daughters had had an abortion before the third child, the sex ratio increased to 326 boys for every 100 girls and to 409 boys if the mother had had multiple abortions.

If a woman had an abortion at or after 15 weeks, when ultrasound can determine sex of the fetus, the sex ratio rose further, to 663 boys for every 100 girls.

“Among some Indian immigrants, the practice of induced abortions is associated with subsequently having a boy, especially at the third birth and among women with two previous girls,” says Dr Marcelo Urquia, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Ontario.

Birth ratios fell within the natural range for Canadian-born women and immigrant women from most other countries.

Previous studies of male-female birth ratios have relied on indirect evidence, and most have not considered the sex of the existing siblings or the number of abortions as factors.

In a related commentary, Drs Abdool Yasseen and Thierry Lacaze-Masmonteil, from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, Ontario, write, “The real question is not whether the practice of prenatal sex selection exists — it is clear from the results of this study and numerous others that it does — but why this practice persists, particularly in a Canadian society that espouses sex equality.”

One problem is that Canada has no law on abortion at all. Professional associations frown on the use of ultrasound to detect the sex of a foetus and sex-selective abortions, but they have no power to stop them.

Amrita Mishra, project director of the Indo-Canadian Women’s Association in Edmonton, told the Globe and Mail that “existing legal loopholes allow anyone to use abortion for infant sex selection. I see Canada as enabling as such practices. And I refuse to have this turn into an Indian issue that’s been imported like vegetables or fruit into Canada.”

She would like to see a law against sex-selective abortion. “When one says Indians or Chinese, Koreans or Philippines have brought this problem to a country, we really need to take a good solid look at ourselves and ask ourselves what are the laws in this country that allow this to happen?” she said.

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