Bhangu says she often encounters women who continue to face pressure from their families to have sons. Within this subset of second-generation mothers, boys were born for every girls for the third live birth. The actual number of suspected sex-selective abortions in this group is relatively small. She says some ultrasound clinics in Brampton, which has a large South Asian population, have adopted bans on revealing the sex of the fetus to the mother, but there are ways women can get around such policies. Wanigaratne says the fact that more boys than girls were born after a woman had at least one abortion does suggest prenatal sex-selection likely occurred.
In total, there were second-generation mothers who had two previous daughters and went on to have a third child. It used an algorithm developed at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences to recognize mothers with South Asian surnames, and looked at nearly 59, mothers of South Asian descent who gave birth in Ontario between and Bhangu says that while the actual number of individuals practicing prenatal sex selection in Canada is very small, it points to a larger problem of gender inequality. The study was co-authored by representatives from non-profit community organizations serving South Asian women, including Manvir Bhangu, founder and executive director of the Brampton, Ont. Of these women, 57 had a prior abortion between the second and third children. The study, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, analyzed administrative data, including birth, immigration and citizenship records, to examine abortion rates and the sex ratios of babies born to women in Ontario. Within this subset of second-generation mothers, boys were born for every girls for the third live birth. She knows of women, for instance, who have left Canada to have sex-selective abortions in India, where they may face less social scrutiny or where it may be easier for others to convince them to terminate a pregnancy. The researchers compared data for several groups of women, including immigrants of South Asian descent or first-generation , Canadian-born women of South Asian descent whose parents were immigrants or second-generation , and Canadian-born women of non-South Asian ethnicity. Male children are often the ones who carry on the family name, inherit the family property, and are expected to take care of their parents in old age, she says. She says some ultrasound clinics in Brampton, which has a large South Asian population, have adopted bans on revealing the sex of the fetus to the mother, but there are ways women can get around such policies. Wanigaratne says the fact that more boys than girls were born after a woman had at least one abortion does suggest prenatal sex-selection likely occurred. Through her organization, which promotes gender equality among the South Asian community, and through her own social circles, Ms. Generally, the sex ratio at birth is expected to be between and boys to girls. Published June 21, Updated June 21, The odds of having a boy in Canada are nearly , except in certain communities where males are especially prized, research has shown. The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health on Thursday, found a higher-than-expected ratio of boys to girls born to a sub-section of Canadian-born women of South Asian ancestry in Ontario — those who had two previous daughters and at least one abortion. Now a new study suggests the use of prenatal sex selection is being passed to the next generation — the Canadian-born children of South Asian immigrants. Bhangu says she often encounters women who continue to face pressure from their families to have sons. While these skewed ratios do not prove the mothers underwent sex-selective abortions, Ms. But among first-generation and second-generation mothers in the study, those who had two previous daughters and at least one abortion were more likely to have a boy as their third child. For immigrants who were born in a South Asian country, and who had two previous daughters and at least one abortion, boys were born for every girls at the third live birth. She says she believes that, with time, the attitudes within her community can shift. Follow Wency Leung on Twitter wencyleung. An elevated sex ratio was not found among second-generation mothers who had no prior abortions. Wanigaratne, a social epidemiologist and post-doctoral fellow.
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