OTTAWA, Ontario, April 17, 2012 ( – A new study supports previous research that unborn girls are being targeted for abortion by certain immigrant groups in Canada who culturally prefer a son over a daughter. Calling it a “concerning trend,” the study found that “male selection remains the most likely reason for the higher male:female ratios” in certain ethnic groups who have immigrated to Ontario.

“Our findings raise the possibility that couples originating from India may be more likely than Canadian-born couples to use prenatal sex determination and terminate a second or subsequent pregnancy if the fetus is female,” the authors of the study say.

The study, titled “Sex ratios among Canadian liveborn infants of mothers from different countries,” appeared online yesterday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Research was led by Dr. Joel Ray, a clinician scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

The study analyzed 766,688 live single births that took place in Ontario between 2002 and 2007. The male to female ratio of babies born to Canadian-born women was constant at 105 boys for every 100 girls, whether the women had previous children or not.

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The study found, however, that for women who migrated to Ontario from South Korea and who already had one child, the ratio of male to female births was 120 to 100. For mothers with one child who had immigrated from India, the ratio of male to female births was 111 to 100.

For mothers from India with two children, the ratio of male to female births dramatically widened to 136 to 100. For Canadian-born mothers with two children, the ratio of male to female births remained constant at 105 to 100.

“After reviewing all registered singleton live births in Ontario between 2002 and 2007, we found a significantly higher male:female ratio among infants of multiparous woman originally born in India than among infants of multiparous women born in Canada,” the authors wrote.

India’s The Telegraph reported that the Canadian study suggests that “Indians may have carried the malaise of female foeticide to Canada.”

“It would appear reasonable to assume that the preference for sons observed in many parts of India and responsible for India’s declining sex ratio has also been carried to Canada,” said Faujdar Ram, director of the International Institute of Population Sciences in Mumbai, to The Telegraph.

Canada’s media elites and legal-abortion advocates reacted strongly against a proposal put forward last January by Dr. Rajendra Kale, editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, to combat the practice of female feticide that he had observed in Canada’s ethnic populations. Dr. Kale had suggested at that time that the country prohibit disclosing a child’s sex until 30 weeks gestation, when, he said, “an unquestioned abortion is all but impossible.” The doctor had called the willful termination of an unborn girl “discrimination against women in its most extreme form.”

At that time, Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada had argued strongly against restricting female feticide, calling any such proposal a “dangerous road to go down” because “women have the right to decide” even if someone does not agree with their reasons.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists also criticized Dr. Kale’s proposal, arguing that he had “fail[ed] to acknowledge the cultural values and norms that lead certain individuals to pursue pregnancy termination based on the gender of the fetus.”