Bill C-233, Press Conference on Banning Sex-Selective Abortion
Dr. Kiely Williams
It is my pleasure to speak in support of MP Wagantall’s Bill C 233.
I support this Bill as a woman, a mother, a physician and a Canadian.
Sex selective abortion is recognized by the United Nations as a form of gender based violence. Death is universally accepted as the ultimate harm in gender based violence. The UN has called female infanticide and pre natal sex selection “harmful and unethical” practices.
In 2011 they released an inter agency statement that called sex selective abortions an unacceptable manifestation of gender discrimination against girls and women and a violation of their human rights. They called on member states to end this practice. Canada is over a decade late in responding to this monumental call to protect the right to life for women and girls.
Currently, Canada is a country that allows physicians to terminate girls simply because they are girls. Worldwide this has led to an estimated 140 to 160 million missing girls.
In 2007, the Executive of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) issued a statement that medical technologies for the sole purpose of gender identification in pregnancy should not be used to accommodate societal preferences, and that the SOGC does not support termination of pregnancy on the basis of gender.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, as well as British Columbia and Saskatchewan, have also echoed the SOGC’s view.
This Bill allows Canada to send a clear message that we oppose the idea that girls do not deserve to live simply because they are girls. All political parties must stand up for the equality of women and men. Having sex selective abortions clearly defined in the criminal code as an unacceptable violation of human rights is critical in protecting girls.
It is very rare in politics when we are presented with a Bill that all parties can support. There are no Canadian political parties who do not support a women’s right to life in Canada.
The time to send this clear message is now. We must act before more female lives are lost.