17 Feb 2017 A dialogue on gender-based violence
This past week Maryam Monsef , Canada’s Status of Women Minister gave Planned Parenthood Ottawa $285,000 so they can use it to help women who face barriers to abortion. According to the Canadian Press, Minister Monsef believes that any barriers to reproductive choice constitute “gender-based violence”. Today we sent the Minister the letter below. We are requesting a meeting with her to discuss a form of reproductive choice that is itself gender-based violence.
February 17, 2017
Dear Honourable Maryam Monsef,
Thank you for your continued service to our country in the capacity of Status of Women Minister. As a role model for Canadian women and girls you have an important task and I applaud you for your leadership.
You were recently quoted in a news article in which you stated that, “Reproductive health rights in Canada and around the world are critical to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. We’re committed to making sure that women and girls have that choice, because otherwise, this is a form of gender-based violence.” Gender-based violence is an affront to the dignity of all human beings and I am thankful that the Liberal Party of Canada is taking steps to address it.
My concern, Ms. Monsef, is that there is a form of reproductive choice that is itself gender-based violence.
A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2016, and reported on widely by the media, found that abortion is occurring in Canada based solely on the sex of the child. Most often a female fetus was aborted due to a preference for a male child. The study of more than 6 million births across Canada was received with shock and alarm by Canadians across the political spectrum. The news caused Tripat Kaur, Coordinator of the Indo-Canadian Women’s Association to say, “Sadly and unfortunately sometimes women don’t have any control…she’s forced to do that [abort her child because it’s a girl]. Prenatal sex-determination tests should be banned.” Amrita Mishra, the Project Coordinator for the Indo-Canadian Women’s Association responded by saying, “This problem [sex-selective abortion] is very partially Indian, and hugely Canadian.”
Ms. Monsef, sex-selective abortion is an affront to the dignity of women and girls; it is gender-based violence. That is why countries around the world are taking steps to protect female fetuses from being discriminated against in such violent manner.
Will you show leadership by bringing Canada into line with every other civilized nation and tackling this form of gender-based violence?
We are requesting a meeting with you at the earliest opportunity to discuss how we address this growing problem of gender-based violence in Canada. Please advise what date works best for your schedule. We can be reached at 1-866-410-9625 or [email protected].
Looking forward to your response.