By Jonathon Van Maren
A Conservative Member of Parliament from Yorktown, Saskatchewan has put forward a private member’s bill that would ban sex selective abortion. Cathay Wagantall, one of Parliament’s most vociferously pro-life politicians, put the proposed law forward on February 26. From Global News:
She was inspired to put forth the bill after reading a recent poll conducted by DART &Maru/Blue for the National Post. A particular statistic stood out to Wagantall: 84 per cent of Canadian adults polled in the survey said they think abortion should be illegal for families that do not want their baby to be a certain sex.
“We value human rights highly in this country and equality between men and women. This issue, as I say, impacts that equality,” Wagantall said. If passed, the onus would be on medical practitioners to determine why the woman is having an abortion, says Wagantall.
However, pro-choice activists say this could cause a barrier for women and transgender people wanting an abortion. “Providers might be more hesitant to provide an abortion than they otherwise would be,” said Angie Kells, an abortion doula based in Saskatoon. Kells, who also is a member of the Saskatchewan Abortion Support Network, says a law like this is aimed to slowly chip away at a women’s right to choose.
“Sex-selective abortions aren’t really a thing in Canada, so the purpose of a bill like this is to restrict access to abortion,” Kells said. “Basically trying to get their foot in the door, trying to get a toehold, and trying to get some set of legislation on the books.”
Angie Kells, predictably, is wrong on that point: A few years ago, in a rare spasm of genuine journalism, the CBC sent investigators with hidden cameras into four ultrasound businesses to find out if sex-selective abortions were taking place. They discovered that baby girls were being targeted in the womb, and revealed that information in their resulting report, “Unnatural Selection.” Tragically for some pre-born baby girls, sex-selective abortions are “a thing in Canada,” and so Kells is either misinformed or lying.
The response to Wagantall’s bill—which she says is intended to trigger a much-needed conversation—has been fairly muted thus far, with most commentators choosing instead to complain about the fact that outgoing Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is even allowing the bill to be put forward. Simon Jeffries, a spokesman for Scheer, responded to media questions by noting that “Mr. Scheer has always been open about the fact [that] he is personally pro-life. Like the overwhelming majority of Canadians, Mr. Scheer finds the practice of getting an abortion specifically to avoid having a baby girl abhorrent.”
Abortion activists such as Kells have stated that most Canadians are pro-choice, and that as such Wagantall’s bill is way out of step with Canadians. But as Wagantall pointed out, the majority of Canadians are pro-choice, but a super-majority of Canadians oppose sex-selective abortions. That super-majority, unfortunately, does not include the members of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals (he has affirmed his support for any kind of abortion in the past), Jagmeet Singh’s NDP, or Elizabeth May’s Vanity Project. Hopefully, the discussion on this bill can force them to respond to some difficult questions.