Canadian parliamentarians aren’t even allowed to debate gendercide

Conservative MP Leon Benoit raised the issue of gendercide during a statement in the House of Commons

Conservative MP Leon Benoit raised the issue of gendercide during a statement in the House of Commons

Britain is making progress on banning sex-selective abortion. United Kingdom MPs voted in favour of Conservative MP Fiona Bruce’s Abortion (Sex Selection) Bill by 181-1 on Nov. 4. The only MP who voted against the bill was Glenda Jackson of the Labour Party. The motion will receive its second reading in January.

The bill was brought forward due to the confusion in Britain as to whether sex-selective abortion is legal under the 1967 Abortion Act. “It is a shame that this clarification is needed. Successive health ministers and even the Prime Minister have been very clear … that abortion for reasons of gender alone is illegal. The Prime Minister has described the practice as appalling but they are being ignored,” Bruce said to the House of Commons.

Bruce also told the House that the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the country’s largest abortion provider, informs women in a leaflet and on its website that sex selective abortion is not illegal because the Abortion Act does not refer to the practice. Furthermore, the British Medical Association justifies sex-selective abortion on grounds of protecting the woman’s mental health.

The issue came to light last year when Sir Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions at the time, decided not to charge two doctors who were caught by a Daily Telegraph investigation arranging sex-selective abortions of baby girls. In his explanation, Starmer said that the law “does not, in terms, expressly prohibit gender-specific abortions.”

“Today MPs sent a clear message that as a society we will not tolerate discrimination against girls whether born or unborn. The abortion of girls because of their gender has no place in a modern society which embraces equality,” said Michaela Aston, spokesman for Life Charity, to the Catholic Herald.

The situation is drastically different in Canada, where Conservative MP Mark Warawa was not even allowed to have M-408, his motion to ban sex-selective abortion, debated, after a parliamentary committee had found his motion non-votable.

Warawa appealed the decision, but it was upheld by the procedure and House affairs committee. This occurred despite broad public consensus against permitting sex-selective abortion. In 2011, an Environics poll showed that 92 per cent of Canadians were in favour of banning sex-selective abortions. A 2012 Angus Reid Poll showed that 60 per cent of Canadians wanted a law clarifying whether a woman can kill her unborn child because of gender. In 2012, Dr. Rajendra Kale, interim editor-in-chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, called for a ban on informing parents of the sex of their child following a sonogram until 30 weeks gestation to stop gendercide.

On Nov. 6, in honour of the 85th anniversary of the Persons Case (which permitted women to be senators), Conservative MP Leon Benoit said in the House of Commons that Canada is “one of only three countries in the world with no legal protection for children before birth,” including baby girls who are victims of feticide. “Britain knows it’s wrong – their Parliament declared sex-selection abortions illegal in a 181-1 vote. Mr. Speaker, Canada can fix this too. Let’s start by having this Parliament condemn gender selection abortion.”