Patrick Craine


Sting by top Quebec newspaper highlights practice of sex-selective abortion

Patrick Craine

MONTREAL, June 5, 2013 ( – Barely a month after party leaders in Ottawa quashed a non-binding motion to condemn sex-selective abortions, one of Quebec’s top daily newspapers has revealed evidence that the barbaric practice is taking place in the province.

Montreal’s La Presse sent a young Chinese woman into an ultrasound clinic on the South Shore of Montreal posing as a woman 12 weeks pregnant. The woman sought solely to determine the sex of the baby because she only wanted to keep the child if it was a boy.

"At that age, yes, we can get an idea of ​​the sex,” the technician told her. "I can try to tell you the sex of the baby, if you want. It's possible, but it is not 100%. It is 70%. … I cannot decide for you. All I can tell you is that you can do it if you wish. It is doable."

After the woman declined on the basis that she wanted to return with her mother, the technician told her she would have to decide quickly if she wanted to abort.

“You still have two weeks,” she said. “After that, you can no longer have an abortion.”

The newspaper, which has the second-highest circulation in Quebec and fourth-highest in the country, has uploaded video footage of the sting operation as the centerpiece of a five-minute video that sheds light on the practice of sex-selective abortion in Canada. The piece includes interviews with B.C. Conservative MP Mark Warawa, who introduced a motion to condemn sex-selective abortion last year, and Dr. Rajendra Kale, the former interim editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, who raised the alarm about sex-selective abortion in a 2012 editorial.

The paper also spoke with the owner of another ultrasound clinic who said that people come into the clinic around twice a week seeking only to know the sex of their child. 

(View the video at the La Presse website here.)

The La Presse piece follows a larger undercover investigation by CBC in 2012, which found that most of the 22 private ultrasound clinics they visited were willing to do an ultrasound solely for the sake of determining the child’s sex.

When introducing his motion, Warawa had cited the CBC sting as his inspiration. But despite the fact that polls have suggested over 90% of Canadians oppose the practice of sex-selective abortion, his motion was prevented from even coming to a vote in the House of Commons.

On March 21st, the Sub-Committee on Private Members' Business declared the motion non-votable. Warawa appealed, but the decision was upheld by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs on March 28th. The MP had the option to appeal to the House of Commons itself, sparking a non-recorded vote of the entire House, but opted not to in the face of likely defeat.

In the La Presse piece, reporter Isabelle Hachey points out that Canada’s official regime of “abortion without limits” is out of step even with China. “In China and India, prenatal selection on the basis of sex has been illegal for nearly 10 years,” she writes. “This is also the case in Britain, land of welcome for many Asian immigrants. But in Canada, nothing prohibits the selective abortion of female fetuses.”

Georges Buscemi, president of Campagne Quebec-Vie, urged the province's National Assembly to adopt its own motion condemning sex-selection in response to the sting.

"Will the same parliament that rose unanimously last week in favour of commemorating the grim doings of arch-abortionist Henry Morgentaler now unanimously condemn the sexist practise of sex-selection abortion?" he asked. "Where are the feminists today when women are being bullied by their husbands to abort their daughters, and unborn girls are being targeted for death simply because they are girls?"

Buscemi also expressed hope that the public would realize sex-selection "is just one of the many terrible consequences of abortion on demand." "Might this not be the time to rethink Canada's appraoch to abortion?" he asked. "Can't we do better to help women than to kill their babies before birth?"

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