Gendercide usually refers to how people are killing so many female babies that it skews your society’s gender ratio. Most of the “missing daughters” are killed before they’re born when the family discovers the baby’s female gender via ultrasound and chooses to abort her, though some (who knows how many) are still killed after they’re born (in China and Canada). Where I’m from in greater Vancouver, Canada, an area with high percentages of Indian, Korean, Chinese and Southeast Asian immigrants, ‘gendercide’ is so prevalent that our particular local ultrasound clinic flat-out refuses to tell people the gender of their baby. We asked one doctor about that restriction during a prenatal checkup, and she told us bluntly it was because they were finding too many ethnic minority babies in ditches.*
When we temporarily returned from China in 2009 to have our first child in my hometown of Surrey, B.C., I was a little shocked to discover signs like the one above in our local clinic. We’d just left the land of the One Child Policy, where it’s illegal for ultrasound techs to reveal the baby’s gender because sex-selective abortion is so prevalent, and arrived in abortion-law-less Canada. How could they get away with withholding personal medical information? Surely that’s a blatant violation of rights — women’s reproductive rights, no less. Our ultrasound tech, himself an immigrant from Pakistan, provided the answer when he said, with a nod at the signs taped to the walls of our examination room: “That rule is not for you,” before telling us he was 70% sure our baby was a girl.
Reporting on sex-selective abortion in North America steps on the multiculturalism social issue landmine because it necessarily involves very bad press for immigrant communities, and in Canada multiculturalism is sacred. (For the record, we both have M.A.’s in Intercultural Studies; we like the multicultural environment here.) But it also picks at the festering scab of the strangled abortion debate by putting the pro-abortion ‘rights’ cause (an even bigger sacred cow than multiculturalism) in a rather awkward position. In Canada we’ve been bullied for decades to believe that women have the unquestionable right to kill their unborn children for any and no reason, period — there are no abortion laws in Canada, that’s the establishment’s position. But along comes sex-selective abortion, and suddenly women — or ethnic minority women, at least — no longer have the divine right to do what they like to their gendered tissue blob (or distinct human being that isn’t a person, or innocent person whose rights are overridden by those of the would-be mother, or female not-a-baby, depending on which pro-abortion rhetoric you favour), at least not if the reasons involve her gender. The voices that have preached for decades that no one can tell women what to do with their own bodies are now doing just that: telling women what they can and can’t do with their suddenly-significant tissue blobs, and for what reasons.
The earlier reports I read about ‘gendercide’ in greater Vancouver seemed to downplay the fact that this is mostly an immigrant phenomenon. But the first installment in a new series in our local community paper (‘I am someone’s daughter’ from the Surrey Leader) shows no such fear:
But while their data shows dramatically fewer second-generation (as opposed to first generation) immigrants choose to have multiple children to achieve a boy, the researchers did not observe such a sharp decline between the generations when it comes to sex selection.
“It could be argued that unlike a preference for high fertility, a preference for sons and a (relative) lack of aversion to sex selective abortion is not costly to maintain in the West,” says the research paper.
For those who work closely with Surrey and Delta’s immigrant community, the fact women continue to get rid of unwanted girls is no surprise.
They barely mention China, instead focusing on the larger Indo-Canadian community while also mentioning east Asians, though it’s a given that this phenomenon exists in the local Chinese population as well.
(Interestingly enough, the main opinion piece in the other local community paper was all about how unfortunate it is that the Indo-Canadian community often gets bad press, because a few bad apples don’t reflect the community as a whole, with no reference to gender-based abortion choices. I have no beef with that article, but it was curious that it appeared on the same day as the other.)
For more about Asian gendercide in Canada or gendercide in China, see:
- “Painless”, “cozy”, “cheerful”, “3-minute”, “sweet dream” abortions in Tianjin, China
- When the news is real life
- October’s propaganda: anti-”gendercide”
- Chinese Academy of Social Sciences publishes the latest and most negative data on sex-selective abortion in China
- Interview with Chinese exile, women’s rights campaigner and founder of All Girls Allowed
- The All Girls Allowed 2011 annual report
P.S. – Apologists for abortion ‘rights’ are welcome to comment, if you’re willing to own your statements by answering my challenges to them (I promise not to yell).
*P.P.S. – I don’t understand our doctor’s explanation that the ultrasound restrictions are because too many babies were being abandoned. Wouldn’t allowing sex-selective abortion result in less abandoned babies? I can imagine situations where her statement makes sense, and anyway I get her general point, so maybe she just misspoke.