Sex selection by abortion?

A Canadian study suggests female foeticide is occurring among Indian immigrants in the country.


  1. The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) study found Canadian couples born in India may be more likely than Canadian-born couples to terminate a second pregnancy if the fetus is female. While some medical professionals are calling for a move to ban giving ultrasound gender information until after 30-weeks of pregnancy, others are saying this study does not present enough conclusive evidence to support the possibility of female feticide. 
  2. The study sampled a population-base of 766 688 live births between 2002 and 2007, using records provided by Ontario Vital Statistics.

    The table below shows the breakdown of male to female ratios for live births, separated by the mother's country of origin.
  3. Here's a depiction of the male to female ratio:
  4. In an exclusive interview with The Stream, Dr. Joel Ray, who led the study describes the findings:
  5. Web Interview with Joel Ray
  6. Last week, thousands of abortion opponents rallied in Ottawa calling for an end to legalized abortions.
  7. That is one big March For Life rally
    That is one big March For Life rally
  8. Activists gathered in front of the parliament building, calling for government officials to criminalize abortion. As of 1988, abortion practices are unrestricted in Canada and legal through all nine months of pregnancy up until the point of birth. 
  9. In this video, protestors march down the streets of Ottawa to protest abortion. 
  10. Pro Life March Ottawa 2012
  11. A citizen captured footage of activists gathered on the steps of the parliament building. 
  12. Pro Life March Ottawa 2012
  13. In an editorial for the CMAJ, Dr. Rajendra Kale says there is a high abortion rate among Indian women who were pregnant with a female. He suggest that heath care providers postpone telling the mother the sex of the child until after 30-weeks of gestation in order to decrease the rate of female feticide. 
  14. Professor Prabhat Jha is the founding director for the Centre for Global Health Research at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. He believes that it is important not to exaggerate the problem and that further research is need for more accurate conclusions.
  15. This is Jha's response to the Sex Ratio study published in the CMAJ:
  16. "For accurate public reporting, it is important not to overstate the problem. IF (and that remains a big IF) selective abortion is happening in Ontario, then the numbers from the Joel Ray study would suggest it's less than 35 a year or less than 1% of all births among Indian-born mothers.
  17. According to Canadian law, the practice of withholding this information to expectant mothers can be considered "professional misconduct." The Canadian Supreme Court says that all patients have a right to access all the information in their records.
  18. Photo Courtesy: Samantha Chiusolo