Two Canadian medical experts are calling for new guidelines that would bar doctors from telling parents the sex of their fetus until late in a pregnancy, calling it a subtle way to curb the practice of sex selection.
That 'subtle' imperilled my keyboard yesterday when I read it.
So, how would that ultrasound session go?
PATIENT: Is it a girl or a boy?
DOC: Um, I'm not going to tell you.
PATIENT: Is there something wrong?
DOC: No, no, everything's fine.
PATIENT: Well, is it a girl or a boy?
DOC: I'll tell you at your next checkup.
PATIENT: Tell me now.
PATIENT: What the hell do you mean, 'no'? This is my pregnancy, my fetus, my body. You have information that I want and you won't tell me? Why not?
DOC: Um, it's policy.
And so on. Until the woman reaches up and grabs the doc by her or his collar and, later, if charges are laid, she claims that hormones made her do it.
Here's the reason:
Writing in a major obstetrics journal recently, the bio-ethicist and doctor say physicians should delay imparting information on baby sex until it is too late for the woman to have an abortion with no questions asked.
'No questions asked' is the money line. Because here in Canada, we don't -- yet -- have slut-shaming hoops for women to jump through, like an interrogation as to why they want an abortion.
Incredibly, that little scenario is already routine in British Columbia.
In fact, doctors in British Columbia have for several years employed that approach, refusing to divulge sex information until 20 weeks into the pregnancy, said Dr. Alain Gagnon, an administrator at the B.C. Children and Women's Hospital. It seems to work, even if the policy strikes patients as strange, he said.
"Many of them find it a little silly that they have to wait to get the information," Dr. Gagnon said. "[But] the vast majority of people seem to be happy with it."
How about unethical, paternalistic, and authoritarian?
One critic, however, questions the measure's effectiveness, given that parents can mail order DNA tests that accurately predict fetal sex, and abortion clinics generally do not ask the reason for the procedure. The way to tackle sex selection is by combating the social mores that lead people to want sons and not daughters, rather than by limiting abortion, said Joyce Arthur, co-ordinator of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.
"To restrict people's freedoms, withholding information in that way, I think is unethical and unnecessary and is not going to prevent anything," Ms. Arthur said. "It's a little bit paternalistic and authoritarian."
Today, part-time agony aunt Kelly McParland thinks he's found a gotcha:
Why, then, would abortion proponents object to women having abortions because they don't like the sex of the fetus? If a fetus is not human, a woman has the right to abort it for whatever reason she chooses: because she doesn't feel like going through the process; because it might interfere with her career plans; because she doesn't like children in general; or because she loves Starbucks and someone told her she'd have to give up caffeine during the pregnancy. What, no latte?
Ooooh, the smarmy gratuitousness. . . No Timmie's customers have abortions. Right. Because they're good Canadians. Or something.
We've opined on this subject before, when it was Ujjal Dosanjh getting twisty-knickery about home gender tests being using by members of 'certain communities'.
We don't keep stats on the gender of aborted fetuses, so there's no way to tell if it's a issue in Canada outside the tiny minds of the tut-tutters. It certainly is a big problem in China and India and, as Joyce Arthur pointed out, it is a complex one. Governments there are just beginning to try to tackle it.
DJ! believes members of certain communities here in Canada should be free to do whatever the hell they think is right. If enough of them do it, they'll soon figure out it's not such a hot-shit idea. Like, when their precious sons start bringing home girlfriends and wives-to-be of different ethnic backgrounds.