Sex-Selective Abortion

Sex-selective abortion is the termination of pregnancy based on the prediction of the child’s sex. Around the world, we see the systematic killing of female fetuses where cultural values include a son preference – valuing male children over female children. Usually we think of India, or of China’s one child policy, and assume that sex-selective abortion is a problem “over there.”  But research and investigations show that it is a growing problem here in Canada.

This form of discrimination against women and girls is abhored by Canadians, who value equality and stand up for human rights. A 2011 Environics Poll shows that 92% of Canadians are opposed to sex-selective abortion.

Use the resources page and blog on to find research and articles to help inform the discussion about this particular form of gendercide. With this awareness we are compelled to take action to condemn the practice of sex-selective abortion. A good first step is to support Motion 408, a private member’s motion that is calling for the Canadian Parliament to condemn sex-selection pregnancy termination, by signing a petition and talking to your MP and the Prime Minister about the importance of defending girls from this violent form of discrimination.

Our Canadian daughters are depending on it.


What is the impact of sex-selective abortion and other forms of gendercide?

With over 163 million women estimated to be “missing” worldwide, humanity is witnessing discrimination on a massive scale.  Girls are being killed because they are girls.

These missing women also constitute a serious demographic problem: a “rampant demographic masculinisation”1. Millions of surplus men are faced with the prospect of not being able to marry due to insufficient numbers of women.  Scholars have pointed out that, historically, populations with higher proportions of men to women can be unstable and violent2, and that, currently, increased crime rates can be linked with surplus males3. Yet it is the women who are most at risk from the effects of the sex ratio imbalance.

Women that are not killed prior to or at birth face threats as they grow up in an increasingly masculine world, with sex trafficking, bride buying, forced marriage, child marriage, kidnapping, domestic abuse and violence.

1 Isabelle Attané and Christophe Z. Guilmoto, Watering the Neighbour’s Garden: The Growing Demographic Female Deficit in Asia, (Paris: CICRED, 2007), ix.

2 Valerie Hudson and Andrea den Boer, Bare Branches: The Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population, (Cambridge, Mass.: 2005).

3 Lena Edlund et al., Sex Ratios and Crime: Evidence from China’s One-Child Policy, Institute for the Study of Labor Discussion Paper Series (Bonn, Gemany: 2007), 4.




One Response to “Sex-Selective Abortion”

  1. Kyle February 20, 2014 at 8:06 am #

    Does it seem odd that Government and health organizations that allow abortions to continue, many of which are done as a convenient way to terminate unwanted pregnancies, are somehow drawing an ethical line at gender selective abortions? What’s the difference between someone choosing to have an abortion because they prefer to not have the baby, and someone choosing to have an abortion because they would prefer a different gender? Arguably, when it comes to the growing fetus, “I’m aborting because I would prefer to not have this baby” is the same as “I’m aborting because I would prefer to have a boy/girl”. Sadly, both end in the termination of life. Isn’t the argument for abortion based on the right to choose? Are there now limitations being placed on that right, dictating how and when it’s alright to choose? If the fetus is not actually considered “alive” until it’s born (a common argument by pro-choice proponents), what’s the harm in aborting it if it’s not what you want (whether it’s a boy, a girl, or a baby in general)? Does the appeal against gender-selective abortion not seem to be a contradictory position for anyone supporting abortion?

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