Indo-Canadian couples choosing sons over daughters: study

A new study suggests the practice of sex selection with a preference for boys in the Indo-Canadian community. In a country where abortion is legal, how can those who believe in the right to choose confront those who use sex selection to abort females?
Advocates in the Indo-Canadian community say while sex-selective abortion is legal, the best response to address the issue should be about changing attitudes, not medical policy. (Ryan McLaughlin/Flickr cc)
Listen19:08

Read story transcript

Learning their baby's gender may be one of the most treasured moments for parents. But new research suggests that in some Canadian families — in the Indo-Canadian community especially — parents are not leaving the baby's sex to chance.

The study suggests that sex selection, through abortion, is making for an usually high proportion of baby boys.The Canadian Medical Association Journal looked at more than six million births in Canada. It found that when some Indo-Canadian parents already had two daughters they were much more likely to take steps to ensure they have a son. 
Should Canada place restrictions on abortions motivated by non-medical cultural reasons? (William Arthur Fine Stationery/Flickr cc)

Canadian-born women with two daughters have roughly the same chance of having a boy or a girl, but Indian-born women in Ontario gave birth to 196 boys for every 100 girls.

The study suggests that this boy baby boom may be linked to second trimester abortions. 

In a country where abortion is legal, how can those who believe in the right to choose confront those who use sex selection to abort females? 

Guests in this segment:

This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry and Willow Smith.