Wagantall reacts to vote on the Sex-Selective Abortion Act (C-233)

For Immediate Release

Ottawa, ON – On the heels of the parliamentary vote on her Private Member’s Bill, the Sex-Selective Abortion Act (C-233), Cathay Wagantall, Member of Parliament for Yorkton—Melville, expressed her gratitude for the debate and optimism for the future.

“It was a privilege and honour for me to present this bill,” said Wagantall. “It came forward at the right time, as it’s clear that the vast majority of pro-choice and pro-life Canadians are against the practice of sex-selective abortion and would like it to be made illegal.”

Bill C-233 would have amended the Criminal Code to make it an offence for a medical practitioner to perform an abortion knowing that it is being sought on the grounds of the child’s sex. At Wednesday’s second reading vote, the House of Commons defeated the bill 82-248.

Eighty-one Conservative Members of Parliament — or two-thirds of the caucus — voted in favour of the bill at second reading. If passed at that stage, it would have moved to the Standing Committee on Justice for further study and expert testimony.

“I fully expected yesterday’s vote result,” continued Wagantall. “I felt well-supported within my own caucus on this issue. Unfortunately, members of the other parties were not able to vote their conscience on whether sex-selective abortion should continue to have a place in our country.”

Wagantall expressed her appreciation for the support the legislation received, noting that the addition of a sex-selection law to Canada’s Criminal Code will not happen overnight.

“I hope everyone takes the time to listen to the speeches of those who spoke in support of C-233, as well as take the time to thank those who bravely stood up to vote in favour of protections for baby girls who would be aborted simply because they are girls.”

“While listening to the speeches of those opposed to the bill, I heard no cohesive argument against prohibiting sex-selective abortion. The Liberals, NDP, and Bloc were irate that supporters of the bill used terms like ‘human rights’ and ‘equality’ to frame the debate. Thankfully, they don’t have a monopoly on those terms; they fully apply to the issue of sex-specific abortion.”

“Ironically, those who were opposed to this bill attempted to reframe the debate to avoid the issue of sex-selection entirely,” Wagantall noted.

Despite the vote result, Wagantall said that parliamentarians opposed to the practice of sex-selective abortion will not relent.

“Canada is the only democratic country in the world with no laws around abortion and, for that, we should be ashamed. This was a bill that reflected the hearts and the minds of eighty-four percent of Canadians. The conversation and understanding amongst Canadians is growing. As I’ve said from the outset—if just one pre-born girl’s life is ended solely because of her sex, we need to act.”