Cloverdale-Langley City MP Tamara Jansen speaks during a distanced session of the House of Commons. (House of Commons video feed)

Cloverdale-Langley City MP Tamara Jansen speaks during a distanced session of the House of Commons. (House of Commons video feed)

Cloverdale-Langley City MP backs bill on sex-selective abortion

Private member’s bill met with opposition from other parties

Cloverdale-Langley City Conservative MP Tamara Jansen is throwing her support behind a bill to ban sex-selective abortion.

Sex-selective abortion is the practice of aborting a fetus once the gender has been determined. Usually, the purpose of the procedure is to abort the fetus if it is a girl and keep it if it is a boy.

“We need to do more than just talk about putting an end to gender-based violence and femicide in this country,” Jansen said in Parliament on Friday, May 28. “This bill protects women at the earliest stage of life.”

The private member’s bill was brought forward by Cathay Wagantall, the Conservative MP for Yorkton-Melville.

“Bill C-233 in no way changes the status quo with respect to access to abortion in Canada,” Jansen said. “It simply asserts that men and women are equally valuable, and therefore if a woman decides she wants to have a baby, the sex of the baby cannot be a reason to end the pregnancy.”

If passed, the bill would amend the criminal code to make it an offence for a medical practitioner to perform an abortion knowing the abortion is sought solely on the ground of the child’s genetic sex.

Although sex-selective abortions has been blamed for skewing gender ratios in parts of China and India, the sex ratio at birth in Canada is 105 male births for every 100 female births, which is consistent with the global average, according to a 2020 paper on the subject by the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.

Wagantall was criticized by other MPs during the first debate on the bill in April, including Jennifer O’Connell, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Health.

“Ninety per cent of abortions that take place in the country are within the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy when we cannot even determine sex,” said O’Connell. “This is just another example of Conservatives who just recently got together to strategize on how to create backdoor anti-abortion legislation.”

Wagantall cited a survey that showed 84 per cent of Canadians opposed sex-selective abortions in response.

In her speech, Jansen framed the debate as about “supporting women this bill will protect.”

Jansen is not the first MP from the area to raise the issue in the House of Commons.

The longtime Conservative MP for Langley, Mark Warawa, raised the issue in 2013 and again in 2016. Warawa died of cancer in 2019.

READ MORE: Warawa wants to revive debate over sex selection abortions

As with most private members bills, he was not successful.

Jansen is known for her conservative stances on issues such as abortion and medical assistance in dying.

abortioncanadian politicsLangley