Monday, 24 February 2014

What's up with this?

This is odd.
The doctors who treat pregnant women are warning mothers-to-be against using “entertainment” ultrasounds solely to determine the sex of their fetuses.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, along with the Canadian Association of Radiologists, put out a new joint policy statement this week calling for an end to ultrasounds offered by non-medical clinics.
Here's the joint statement.

An excerpt:
Fetal ultrasound is a valuable tool in modern obstetrical care. This imaging technique is useful in assessing a fetus for anomalies, ensuring fetal health, and assessing fetal growth and development if performed by properly trained individuals in a carefully monitored and medically supervised environment. It is also an important technology in education and research. This imaging technology uses high-frequency, low-energy sound waves; it does not use ionizing radiation. The availability of ultrasound machines for purchase and use for non-clinical purposes has led to a proliferation of “entertainment” ultrasound units throughout Canada. With recent media coverage of nonmedical clinics performing gender determination in the first trimester, the SOGC and CAR find it necessary to update their previous policy statements on this issue and to issue a new joint policy statement.

The key phrases here are "for non-clinical purposes" and "entertainment." Health Canada and US FDA have warned against them for years -- in the FDA's case, since 2004. And at least one US state, Connecticut, has banned them.

But the issue has been safety concerns posed by multiple, longer-exposure ultrasounds.

What's odd here is the insertion of the sex-selection canard.

Here is the National Post offering a a piece with a totally misleading headline yet not a scrap of evidence that "sex-based abortions" are occurring in Canada, let alone that there's a "rise" in them. Here's the headline:
Rise in sex-based abortions prompts doctors to call for end to ultrasounds that only determine gender of fetus
It refers to an editorial in the Canadian Medical Journal from 2012. That editorial was occasioned by a study of gender ratios downloadable here free without subscription.

Researchers looked at Ontario birth records for the period 2002 to 2007, correlated to the woman's country of birth.

It includes a table with the actual numbers of male/female births to women of various origins and for each birth (first, second and third) in turn. An abortion provider I know took a good look at these numbers and found that there were only two statistically significant differences in gender ratios.
One involved third births to women of Indian origin, and the other second births to women of Korean origin; in both groups there was a small disproportion of males.
Then, calculations were done to determine how many "extra" males were born.
There were 48,362 third births of females. If the usual ratio of 1.05 had applied, one would have expected 50,780 male births, when in fact there were 51,520.  It was as though 360 births that “should” have been female were male instead.  But this amounts to only 60 extra male births per year in Ontario, 360 out of the 6-year total of 766,688 births – at .05% not much of a demographic threat!
(These quotes come from private correspondence, but you can download the study and do the math yourself.)

As we have argued here many times, sex selection is a serious problem in societies where it is widely practiced. That one study shows only that it might have happened in Ontario with very little effect on the larger population.

In fact, there's good evidence that when the overall population is questioned on gender preference, girls win.

That's why we call sex-selective abortion a canard. Or in Mark Warawa's recent anti-abortion gambit, sheer, cynical posturing, aka Warawa's Wank.

And speaking of Warawa, NatPo's resident sob-sister Kelly McParland produces his usual disingenuous froth to claim that the joint statement vindicates Warawa's thwarted motion.

Which of course it doesn't. Warawa's Wank was simply yet another back-door attempt to reopen the abortion debate. And all sensible people recognized it as such immediately.

But the question remains. Why would the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and Canadian Association of Radiologist link multiple, non-medical ultrasounds -- long frowned on by reputable experts -- to very sketchy evidence that sex-selective abortion is actually occurring in Canada?

Why now? What's going on?

We ever-vigilant proponents and protectors of women's rights in Canada should keep our eyes peeled for future moves and spin by fetus fetishists.

UPDATE: Dominionist-run website, We Need a Law, is revved in anticipation of a new bill.

1 comment:

Alison said...

The PostMedia clones are running a version with abortion in the subhead, Global mentions it in theirs, and naturally SunNews takes the opportunity to interview Alissa.Goleb of Camapaign Life about it.
Only CBC doesn't mention abortion in their piece on it.

And unless I missed it, the statement from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada doesn't either. That they inveigh against people using infotainment ultrasounds to learn the sex of the fetus doesn't necessarily imply sex-selective abortion, does it?

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