When I wrote the editorial “‘It’s a girl!’ – could be a death sentence” in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2012 it caused a media uproar. This was expected given that the piece touched on issues such as abortion, women’s rights, foetal rights, and ethnicity.He was swiftly replaced at the helm of the Canadian equivalent of the BMJ. And he’s clearly learnt his lesson. More genuflecting towards backwards cultures is required:
The solution I proposed caused further debate. I suggested that the sex of the foetus should be disclosed to all women after 30 weeks of pregnancy, when an abortion is practically impossible. The sex of the foetus is medically irrelevant, except in rare instances of genetic disorders linked to X chromosomes. So why should healthcare professionals be obliged to disclose medically irrelevant information that has reduced the number of women by millions?Because it’s not the information that’s doing it. It’s people. And if Unity's sums are correct, it's not even all that many people, either.
Let’s be honest here. Mrs Smith is not going to suddenly decide on a termination if it’s not a boy. Mrs Patel might. Why on earth withhold the information from Mrs Smith as a result? Yet that’s what he’s suggesting.
Because anything else is just too hard and difficult to carry out, and risks ‘upsetting’ people. Doctors should never have to do that, I guess.
Arguably the sex of the foetus should be withheld only from those women who are at high risk of aborting female foetuses, but how can one identify these women? Having separate disclosure rules for women who belong to certain ethnic minorities would attract accusations of discrimination.So, their paler sisters should just take one for the team! Give up the idea that medical advancement is here for all, if one other person misuses it, then we’ll take it away.
You can’t have nice things, Mrs Smith!
Mothers want to know the sex of their baby as soon as possible out of curiosity and because it helps them to plan for its arrival. If they wait till 30 weeks they could save the lives of girls who would otherwise be aborted and still have enough time to decorate the nursery in pink or blue. Dealing with the heightened curiosity of waiting for 30 weeks is a small price to pay for helping to save millions of women globally.But you aren't paying it, are you, Rajendra? You’re expected all these other women to pay it, just so your fellow doctors don’t have to have an uncomfortable conversation. You want these other women to take the pressure off you by giving up an advancement.
And that’s not right.