OTTAWA - If Canadians thought the last House of Commons debate around abortion was contentious, the next one is shaping up to be even more complicated and potentially a closer vote.
British Columbia Conservative MP Mark Warawa is promoting a private member's motion that calls on the Commons to condemn the practice of sex selection. Sex selection occurs when a woman aborts a fetus — usually a female fetus — after determining the gender through an ultrasound.
Warawa said Wednesday his motion is about discrimination against women, rather than about reproductive rights. It is not likely to come up for debate until March.
The father of two girls said he was compelled to act after watching a CBC investigative story last June about 3-D ultrasound clinics revealing the sex of babies to women early enough for them to receive an elective abortion. He doesn't have numbers on the prevalence in Canada.
"I think parliamentarians are faced with two choices: We either condemn this form of discrimination against women and girls or we endorse it," Warawa said accompanied by 11 Tory colleagues, most of them vocal members of the party's pro-life caucus.
"It's not something you can ride the fence on."
Although Warawa and his supporters would not concede a connection between the motion and the wider debate over restricting abortions, the prime minister's office is doing just that.
"The government is opposed to opening this debate. Parliament has already voted on this issue," spokesman Carl Vallee said in response to a question about the Warawa motion.
"We don't think it should be opened again."
Despite Harper's unequivocal stand on the issue, related motions continue to pop up. Conservative MPs present a constant stream of petitions in the Commons to limit abortion rights or change legislation.
The last time the Commons dealt with the issue of abortion was in September, when Ontario Conservative Stephen Woodworth unsuccessfully asked that a committee be struck to examine when a fetus is considered a child under the Criminal Code.
But asking MPs to condemn a practice that specifically targets a particular gender might not be as easy for some to reject — especially Conservatives.
Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose surprised many when she voted in favour of Woodworth's motion, explaining that she was concerned about sex selection.
Already, the NDP and Liberal leaders are saying they will not support the motion, calling it a thinly veiled attempt to reopen the debate on abortion.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair noted that the Warawa brought forward his motion the same week Woodworth's died in the Commons.
"Of course these are complicated issues, there's no denying that, but we know what it's really about," Mulcair said.
"It's Stephen Harper and his Reform party base trying to reopen the abortion debate. We're not going to be fooled by it."
Labour Minister Lisa Raitt, who voted against Woodworth's motion, hinted at some weariness with such motions.
"I'm pretty sure we've dealt with all these issues before. I mean, we've done this," said Raitt.
Conservatives, like Muslims, are the same in every country. Wherever they go, social progress ends.
Not gonna happen, R1.
Harper knows he will lose the next election if he goes there.
Harper is losing control of the wackos who make up the vast majority of his party. Everyone knew this was going to happen if he got a majority.
Finally the party is being exposed for what it really is...... A collection of USA inspired Religious freaks - funded and trained by the US Republicans.
What the heck did Canada expect????
Canada's current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper is an Evangelical Christian who held a vote (which he temporarily lost because he only had a minority then) to take away gay equality the first time he was elected in 2006.
WHY DOES THIS SURPRISE PEOPLE????
Canada is the new Republican HQ in North America and very likely the location of the next Republican convention.
Can anyone say "Rebuilding the Republican Party from Canada"?
So, so true, r2.
The same thing is happening here in Norway.. the right wants to open up the debate on abortion again.. thank god nothing can happen because the socialists have the majority, and they're refusing it.. of course.
Canada is definitely under the control of the Jesus freaks!
There can't be that many people who abort because of the sex. Most Westerners who really want kids want a healthy child and don't really care about the sex. This isn't China.
Coming up next, prayer will be back in public schools and all MPs will have to swear allegiance on the Bible before they take office.
The 10 commandments will on display at the public entrance of Parliament.
What is it with the control issues of kkkhristianity?
So much for Canadians looking down on us. Welcome to our hell Canada.
[quote] There can't be that many people who abort because of the sex.
You obviously have not noticed the huge amount of ultra sound clinics popping up around Canada.
Finding out the sex of the fetus is now a big money making business, because of the demand.
Are you guys determined to turn into the U.S.? I prefer you as our sensible cousins to the north. Please don't do this.
A CBC investigation has found that some privately owned 3D ultrasound businesses are allowing women to determine the gender of their fetus much earlier than they could from their doctors.
The CBC’s Investigations Unit, using hidden cameras, visited nearly two dozen so-called entertainment ultrasound businesses in three Canadian cities.
Of the 22 centres visited, 15 agreed to book an appointment for an ultrasound that would give a couple the gender of the fetus before 20 weeks of pregnancy. That’s within the range of time when it’s still possible for a woman to get an elective abortion.
“You basically proved that it is happening here,” Dr. Verjinder Ubhi told CBC News after seeing the hidden camera footage. "We had suspicion but no evidence." Ubhi has been practising medicine in Brampton, Ont., for more than 20 years. “This is happening here, right in Canada."
Dr. Verjinder Ubhi says that people need to be educated about the value of a girl to the perpetuation of the community. Dr. Verjinder Ubhi says that people need to be educated about the value of a girl to the perpetuation of the community. (CBC)
The CBC investigation follows two recent studies that suggest the practice of aborting females in favour of males, common in countries such as India and China, has come to Canada.
A study released in April in the Canadian Medical Association Journal confirmed previous research showing that the male-to-female ratio for third-born children to women born in India and living in Ontario is higher than the natural rate.
“The numbers are definitely tilted because women are aborting the girls,” says Amandeep Kaur, the chief operating officer at Punjabi Community Health Services in Mississauga.
Kaur says she has had women come for help who had to deal with violence against them for resisting aborting a female fetus. “I’d say the women we see, at least 10 per cent of women come to our agency with this type of problem.”
Many Canadian hospitals and doctors won’t reveal the gender of a fetus until a woman is too far along to get an elective abortion.
Yet, in the last 10 years in Canada there has been an explosion of private 3D ultrasound businesses. For about $200 the parents can get a video 3D keepsake of the ultrasound, and for a smaller fee they can find out the gender only. These so-called entertainment ultrasounds are so popular they are often given as baby gifts.
Many of these businesses state that they do not do ultrasounds to determine fetal sex until 20 weeks. This is also the point where it becomes more difficult to have an abortion.
Yet, about two-thirds of the businesses visited by the CBC agreed to test for gender earlier than 20 weeks. Five of them agreed to test at as early as 14 weeks of pregnancy.
[quote]A CBC investigation has found that some privately owned 3D ultrasound businesses are allowing women to determine the gender of their fetus much earlier than they could from their doctors.
Wogs kill everything -- starting with their own kids.
Sounds like a recent immigrants with patriarchal societies issue to me.
[quote]Harper knows he will lose the next election if he goes there.
He's already 'gone' there on a variety of issues. He keeps winning because the things you believe would lose him an election if he dared to bring up, haven't affected his reign of terror.
What is this about Canada turning into the US? Canada is turning into the 'old' US. The US has turned Liberal, and the Dems keep winning because Americans are finally freaked out by the KKKristian freaks.
Maybe all the religious nazis will emigrate to Canada.
Harper has already gone full bore Social and Religious Conservative.
His style is not American-in-your-face. It is the sneaky, behind the scenes while denying it all method.
This is why PM Harper is so f*ucking dangerous!
Harper is leading the Conservative wave in North America right now. Pat Robertson and James Dobson have Stephen Harpers picture on their wall and are studying his stealth techniques so they can do it themselves.
The Religious Nazis have already set up camp in Canada. James Dobson set up an office in the national Capital, Ottawa, in 2006, only months after Harper was elected.