Tuesday, January 17, 2012
'It's a Girl' - could be a death sentence: A Controversial Editorial in Canadian Medical Association Journal.
CBC News, Vancouver at 6 pm January 16, 2012 reported that a ‘controversial’ editorial has been written in the CMAJ by the editor-in-chief (interim), Dr. Rajinder Kale. Controversial? You bet! Dr. Kale advocates that the results of the child’s gender from an ultrasound should be withheld from the parents until the very late stages of the pregnancy. In his editorial, entitled, “It’s a Girl - Could Be a Death Sentence” (online www.cmaj.ca January 16, 2012) he states that a considerable number of Canadians in the South Asian and Chinese communities use these ultrasound results to choose boys over girls. In other words, if the ultrasound shows that the baby is a girl, an abortion is done. Boys are preferred over girls because girls prove very expensive before marriage when a dowry must be paid to the groom. He claims that this type of abortion “is the worst form of discrimination against women.” Dr. Kale cautions against painting all South Asians or Chinese with the same brush as some are against such practices. But he adds “...postponing the transmission of such information is a small price to pay to save thousands of girls in Canada. ...If Canada cannot control this repugnant practice, what hope do India and China have of saving millions of women?” It, is of course, what people in the pro-life movement have been saying all along. But now we have a medical doctor who has written that abortion should not be used as a means of selecting boys over girls. But the implication in the editorial is more than that isn’t it? For if the ‘foetus’ is a boy or a girl, it is not just a ‘growth’ or a ‘blob of tissue’ that the mother has a right to do away with. Another medical doctor, Dr. Parghit Singh was also interviewed on the CBC report and he said that the practice of aborting female babies is ‘barbaric’. He actually said ‘female babies’! These two are not those radical,hated fundamentalists or Catholics who go marching around abortion clinics. Here are two doctors from South Asian cultures themselves who recognize that aborting female babies, for sex-selection at least, is wrong. It is a step in the right direction and perhaps soon people will realize that aborting babies of any gender is ending the life of not just ‘a foetus’ but a real, human life, ‘a baby’. It’s discrimination all right - against both male and female babies. And is it a barbaric custom.