Pregnancy

Baby’s Sex Should Be Withheld Because Women Might Have Sex-Selective Abortions, Says Doctor

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girl babiy bootiesDiscovering the sex of your baby in the earlier weeks of pregnancy is a highlight for a many couples. While some look towards that date with anticipation, other couples choose to save the sex of their baby for the big day. But one Canadian doctor is urging physicians to stop revealing the sex too early to reduce the number of sex-selective abortions.

Dr. Rajendra Kale, interim editor-in-chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, says that although most people attribute sex-selective abortions to non westernized countries, like those in Asia, immigrant populations in both Canada and the United States still traffic in the notion that boys are better than girls.  Dr. Kale mentions some research that finds sex-selective abortions to be happening in Chinese, Korean, and Indian communities.

But the real snag comes from withholding the sex of the baby from women. While both the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada  and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agree that aborting female fetuses simply because they’re female is unethical, so is keeping medical information away from the mother. But Dr. Kale maintains that although a mother has every right to know any abnormalities in her fetus,  the sex is irrelevant to providing adequate care to both mother and baby. He cites some exceptions like very rare, sex-linked illnesses. [tagbox tag=”abortion”]

Kale acknowledges that sex-selective abortions are a relatively small problem in Canada and the United States, but he asks that they not be ignored.  He’s currently pushing for Canadian physicians to develop policies that limit disclosing the sex of the fetus after 30 weeks.

However, the idea of a woman being denied information about her fetus because she’s not “trustworthy” is a dangerous platform upon which medical policies should not be founded. Hospitals and physicians do not need any more encouragement to infantilize women by hiding information from them — or any patient for that matter. Mothers and pregnant women don’t need doctors with their own agendas, preconceptions, or even biases when it comes to their growing baby. All patients, women included, deserve doctors who will deliver facts — all of them — without deeming them too stupid or reckless to comprehend the basics.

Although Dr. Kale’s heart is clearly in the right place with his concern for female fetuses, his push for withholding medical information sets a poor precedent for how women could be treated by their physicians. Sex-selective abortions are nevertheless very concerning and should be addressed, but perhaps outside the doctor’s office.

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