Tabitha Ewert, legal counsel for We Need a Law, stands in front of some of the 50,000 flags at Holland Park on Thursday, Oct. 11. The flags were meant to shine a light on sex-selection abortions in Canada. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

International Day of the Girl

50,000 pink flags planted at B.C. park shine light on sex-selection abortion

We Need a Law group ‘advocates for fetal interest’ protection: legal counsel

In a sea of pink flags at Holland Park, volunteers took the time to answer questions about imbalanced birth rates in Canada on International Day of the Girl.

Tabitha Ewert, the legal counsel for We Need a Law, said the goal of Thursday’s (Oct. 11) event was to shine a spotlight on gender-based violence that happens around the world, “and even here in Canada.”

“Specifically, we want to talk about sex-selection abortion which is pre-born women who are targeted just because they’re women,” Ewert said.

She said this is the first time the group has done an all pink flag display, adding that the displays are usually pink and blue flags.

“We’ll either have 100,000 (flags) to represent the 100,000 abortions that happen every year in Canada or sometimes we’ll do 10,000 or a smaller one.”

Sex-selection abortion, she said, is not widely talked about.

“I think when it does get talked about, it gets talked about as a problem in other countries — that’s generally the way people talk about it. They don’t realize it’s happening here in Canada too.”

A news release from We Need a Law states that researchers “point to sex-selective abortion, which is allowed in Canada, as a contributor to this imbalance.”

“Naturally, about 105 boys are born for every 100 girls,” according to the release.

In South Asian families with two girls and one or more reported abortions after that, “the ratio shifts up to 280 boys for every 100 girls,” the news release adds.

“It was initially thought that sex-selective abortions in South Asian communities would decrease with the next generation. This most recent study, however, confirms that second-generation South Asian women, born in Canada, continue to show this preference for boys,” states the release, referencing a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Ewert said the focus is not on the community, but that sex-selection abortions are happening at all.

“Canada is a multicultural country. We value the fact that we have people from all over the world here, so if it affects one community, it affects everyone,” she said.

The release states that abortion “disproportionately targets baby girls.”

“Abortion is not about a woman’s right to choose – it is about taking away a child’s right to live, and it makes a statement about the value, or lack thereof, that we place on women in Canada when we allow sex-selective abortion,” the release reads.

Ewert said it’s important that sex-selection abortion doesn’t continue to occur in Canada.

“We understand that rights are really important and that should start even before birth.”

We Need a Law, Ewert said, “advocates for fetal interest to be protected by Canadian law.”

“We’re having people sign a petition that calls on the government to condemn sex-selection abortion.”

We Need a Law, according to its website, was launched in 2012.

Its three main initiatives are: Protect a Woman’s Right to Have Her Child, Defend Girls and End Late-Term Abortion.

Thursday’s event was part of the Defend Girls initiative.

For more information, visit defendgirls.com.



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Fifty-thousand flags were put into the ground at Holland Park on Thursday, Oct. 11 on International Day of the Girl. The flags were meant to shine a light on sex-selection abortions in Canada. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

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