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June 08, 2006



In Scotland, Scottish National Health (health care is socialized in Scotland) will not ordinarily disclose the gender of an unborn child, for this very reason. There is a large population of immigrants in Scotland who would abort a baby girl. (The Scots, of course, have flaws themselves, just not this one.)

Because it would violate various laws to single out immigrants for this policy, they apply it across the board.


Ah, "multicultural diversity"...

 Touchy Technician

Does anyone know if infanticide was commonly practiced in either China or India before abortion became common?


Touchy T.

The answer to your question is yes.

Chris S.

Wait, I thought we were talking about non-human blobs of cells. How can a non-human blob of cells have a gender???

little gidding

The logic of abortion rights calculates into the value of the fetus the burden it will put on its own mother. So aborting a female fetus makes sense because a female child will require an equal investment as a male child, but will not bring about an equal return. Basing abortion "rights" only on the mother's individual benefits, however, does nothing to ensure society's need for equal numbers of girls and boys and for a succeeding generation. To makes things worse, since a mother must be given information on which to base her calculation of "choice," all the pressure is inexorably driven toward testing the fetus for all kinds of characteristics, good and bad, not just its gender. To me, this seems like a no-brainer argument, even for those afraid of "religious" qualms about abortion, for a policy very closely resembling what you'd get if the Vatican were in charge over here. Otherwise, progressively, you have eugenics with a vengeance, enforced by individuals one child at a time, and then enforced on all.

Old Zhou

Hey, wait a minute.

Canada's birth rate is dropping, steadily.
From 11.41 births per 1000 Canadians in 2000, down now to 10.84 births per 1000 Canadians in 2005.

A couple of years ago some folks began to panic that Canadians just are not reproducing, like this article

Canadians are just not having babies the way they used to. Statistics Canada has released new numbers that show that Canada's birth rate has fallen to its lowest level ever recorded.

In 2002, 328,802 babies were born, down 1.5 per cent from the previous year, and down 25.4 per cent in the last 10 years alone. The rate dropped to 10.5 live births for every 1,000 population, "the lowest since vital statistics began to be produced nationally in 1921," the agency said Monday.

Ontario and Quebec were responsible for almost 4,400 fewer live births in 2002 -- a drop that had a huge impact on the overall decline. The only regions that were more fruitful over the previous year, were the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Alberta.

Demographic experts say the reasons for the drop-off are obvious: priorities have changed. The biggest change has come from the increasing number of women who are working longer before starting a family.

In the old days, young married couples had full families by the time they hit 30. These days, many are pushing 40 before they are pushing strollers for the first time -- if at all.

"We value the fact that women get an education, stay in school longer, establish careers -- all of that delays the decision to have children," says Alan Mirabelli, from the Vanier Institute of the Family in Ottawa.

What's more, more couples are having one-child families. Statistics Canada says the country's fertility rate, a measure that estimates the average number of children women aged 15 to 49 will have in their lifetime fell slightly to 1.50 per woman in 2002 from 1.51 per woman in 2001.

Dina, a web specialist, became a mother at 39, and says it was a calculated decision to stop at one. "We knew at the very beginning we wanted only one child," she says. "So now we have her, we're happy. We don't plan on having any more."

Trend researchers says inflexible corporate culture often makes it tough for women to juggle job and baby.

Gee, if the typical (European) Canadian family has zero or one children, what does that do for gender balance issues? How many make sure that "the one" is the gender they want?

So now, they are worried about how the immigrants are having children?

If the 10% of the population from India (in some places) or 12% of the population from China (in some other places) is having noticable, dramatic, and "startling" impacts on local boy-girl ratios, well...


little gidding

May I also say it sits uneasily with me to single out the Chinese and Indian communities for blame. Certainly it is especially poignant that girls are being selected out by a method that is supposed to result in the "empowerment" of women. And I do not at all mean to defend such abortions. What I would point out, however, is that the Chinese and Indian communities are not the only ones, by any means, that are "selecting out" the babies that they do not want. And to the aborted babies themselves, it does not matter what reasons there were for aborting them, female or male.

Old Zhou

End of the quote about the "startling" problem of possible geneder selection through abortion in immigrant communities in Canada:

...the number of missing daughters may be somewhere in the thousands.


There were over 100,000 abortions every year in Canada from 2001-2003 (Source).
There have been over 2.5 MILLION abortions in Canada since 1970, jumping to over 100,000 a year after it became legal in 1988.

And they have the gall to worry about "somewhere in the thousands" of missing daughters of Asian immigrants?

Deacon John M. Bresnahan

As an only child now in his 60's--although as a child sometimes I rejoiced at being the "one and only" --most of the time I was lonely and wishing for brothers and sisters. Then when my parents died a number of years ago--even though I have a wonderful wife and 4 kids and 7 grandchildren--a totally new form of loneliness set in--a loneliness born of the fact there is noone to share personal memories with of the first 20 or so years of my life.
As a deacon I regularly see at wakes how wonderfully important it is in most families for brothers and sisters to be able to console, comfort, and remember together.
Consquently, I am convinced that--barring serious medical problems (which my mother had)--parents who cold-bloodedly decide to have only one child--are nothing but child abusers for their own selfishness--emotional abusers as well as psychological abusers of their one child.


Chris - oddly enough that argument ("clump of cells") has been pretty much abandoned of late, I imagine for the extremely practical reason that ultrasound technology is so widespread and images of unborn babies so easy to find now; all you have to do is fire up Google images and there they are. The argument now is that yes, it's alive, but its life is less important than its mother's - therefore, if she feels it would severely impact her life to keep this new life going, she is justified in ending it. Twisted, I know, but there you are. Yes, it's alive, yes it's thisclose to being a baby, but it's still OK to kill it.

Little Gidding

Yes, I agree Zhou, whenever a baby who would otherwise be born is deliberately aborted, someone has decided that that baby would go "missing." Gender selection would be easy to see in the aggregate results, but there is no reason why that personal "choice" would be any more worthy of moral criticism than the personal "choice" to abort a child for any number of reasons that are typically regarded as a matter of convenience or economic hardship. And, in any event, we say we've put judgment of such calculations beyond the ken of anyone else besides the mother--it's her choice alone, we say. In fact, it is a commonplace that babies with Down's Syndrome, for example, are "selected out," and, in fact, mothers feel themselves (and are made to feel) pressured to do so, and partly for economic reasons--either the family will undergo economic hardship or society will have to bear an extra economic burden. This is an economic decision, just like the one made to abort a non-male.

But on the "economic" model of abortion, a "capitalist" might say--I think I've read this somewhere--that the balance of male-female would/will right itself through supply and demand, in some vague way in which daughters would become more "valuable" because scarce. What I don't understand is how this mechanism is supposed to work--will/would fathers demand a reverse dowery, a bride price for daughters? Would daughters be returnable to their families for a refund if they didn't produce babies? Why would any of this be an "empowerment" of women?


I wonder how imbalanced it has to get before the effects are perceived. When I first began to read Amy's notes, I thought I would be reading that sex selection resulted in two to three times as many baby boys born as girls. Even at 105 to 100, there always seem to be more spinsters in society than bachelors. While we can mourn every abortion, how bad does sex selection have to get before it becomes a problem? We've heard about the problem in China now for at least a generation. Are men who want wives there having a hard time finding women because there are too few of them or is it still too early to tell?


Yes, men in China are looking overseas for wives or girlfriends. Women in Vietnam have also been kidnapped to provide for Chinese men. IIRC.


``Why would any of this be an "empowerment" of women?''

It isn't. The only people who are empowered here are the ones who control the women of marriageable age: the fathers, the heads of clans, the marriage brokers. And of course the kidnappers, with young women for sale.

Meg Q

One of the most disturbing articles I've ever read.

The problem is that b/c of the devaluation of girls in these Asian cultures, you can see the diff clearly in the stats of these Canadian towns b/c of sex-selective abortion. The article doesn't try to make out that "white" Canadians are better by comparison. Anyone who thinks about, say, the "disappearance" of Downs children from among us knows better than to think that.

Donna V.

OT to Deacon John: My sister also had medical problems and was only able to bear one child. She suffered a miscarriage when her son was 3 and was on her bed, quietly crying, when Mikey came in the room. Because of her history of miscarrying, she had not told anyone besides her husband that she was pregnant. Mikey had been told only that Mom was "sick."

She told me Mikey walked over to the bed, very gently put his hand on her stomach and said solemnly "No baby, Mom." It was a heartbreaking moment for her. She had no idea how he knew, or how he could have known, at that age, where babies came from.

When I read of people aborting children until they get the "right" sex, I think of the agonies my sister went though and of how badly my godson wanted another brother or sister.


This is particularly interesting, though sadly not shocking, to me as a young adult in the Archdiocese of Vancouver (this is the Archdiocese of the Lower Mainland).

We are just in the middle of a census here in Canada so it will be interesting to see what the statistics are like when they come back.

In relation to abortion, things are looking very sad indeed. In British Columbia according to the most recent statistics (2003), there were 15,499 induced abortions and 40,496 live births. That should be a sobering thought.

This being said, I don't think we can simply point the finger at the immigrants and say it's a problem they're bringing with them. Let's face reality. We're living in a culture of death. We're living in a society that allows this to take place. One quarter of pregnancies are ending in induced abortions. That's not counting morning after pill or abortifacient contraceptives. It should horrify us that a Western developed nation allows this. While there are certainly cultural influences for seeking an abortion, it's our Western society that lets it happen.

Moreover, before people get down on immigration, I want to point out that the Catholic Asian population in this Archdiocese is very dedicated to the Faith and a great witness to us Catholics of European ancestry. Many have been persecuted for their Faith and know what it is to truly be willing to risk your life for the Gospel of Christ.

This past year there were over 80 South Korean catechumens from ONE parish in our Archdiocese who entered the Church. That's not counting candidates (those who were already baptised Christian). There are five young men being ordained to the priesthood this year in our Archdiocese and of those five, four are Asians. Some of these men quite literally risked their lives to leave their country, leaving behind family and friends, so that they could study for the priesthood. Testimonies such as these give me hope.


How can a non-human blob of cells have a gender??? -- Chris S

When it's not alive. Oldspeak lesson:

"Gender" is a property of INANIMATE nouns. If an object/noun has "gender", it is by definition NOT alive.

"Sex" is the SAME property when applied to ANIMATE nouns -- objects/nouns which are ALIVE.

reluctant penitent

Greg Gutfeld on the lost daughters:

Asked whether or not it bothered them that this scheme relies on the extermination of millions of young girls, one prospective female traveler responds, "At least half of those girls aborted were probably pro-lifers. No wait, I mean XY-chromosome fetuses. Oh hell, since we've won, let's call 'em girls again. Or, more accurately, the little fundamentalist bitches they would have been. And the other half, who are pro-choice, would then accept it for the good of the cause. Those are the good girls.



Mother Nature accounts for the higher male mortality rate by producing, under normal circumstances, 105 boys for every 100 girls.

It is my understanding that this (105) is a range not a hard number. The commonly accepted range is 102 - 107 boys for every 100 girls. No society on earth produces exactly 105 boys for every 100 girls, year after year. It would be interesting to compare the range for Chinese and Indian immigrants with the native European Canadians and/or immigrant European Canadians. With the availability of sex selection at conception using artificial methods, the ratio cannot solely be attributed to abortion.

Ben Kenobi


Yes it is true that the 'normal' range is somewhat flexible from 100 to about 105. With respect to contraception, I'm not sure what you mean when you say that contraception can influence the ratio, how would they know whether they were aborting a boy or a girl.

Secondly, to reply to one of the earlier comment, the numbers are at least 10 thousand a year sex selection abortions, there may be more, but this is a conservative estimate. Unfortunately, one cannot write 'tens of thousands' when you have precisely 10 thousand a year.

Third, one of the interesting things is that the areas with the highest amount of total immigration did not bear the highest ratios. The areas with high amounts of specific immigrants did show the highest ratios, namely immigrants from India and China. So clearly one could not blame all 'immigration' solely for this practice, all we can say is that it appears specific communities already known to favour boys are more likely to practice sex selection abortion.


I'll back up dilexitprior's comments - living in and around Vancouver nearly my whole life, I have seen some amazing people of faith and fidelity from within the Asian community. On the flip side, I recall a caucasian coworker at my last job telling me that her doctor would not tell her the sex of her baby after having an ultrasound. They weren't allowed to do that because of the possibility in some cultural communities of sex selective abortions. That conversation always stuck with me - and this was before I was Catholic.

Canada has lost its moral compass. We are slowly getting on track with our new government, but we have miles to go. One very positive meeting recently was between the National Executive of the Catholic Women's League and the new Prime Minister, Stephen Harper - he listened and took notes, and there was true dialogue. It's about time!

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