Rajendra Kale, interim editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, called for a ban on disclosing the sex of a fetus until 30 weeks, a point at which abortions are difficult to obtain.
editorial cited research that suggests some Asian immigrants are aborting unwanted females.
The move ignited opposition on several sides, from those who decried any curtailing of a woman's right to information about her
pregnancy to those who questioned the accuracy of research that paints Asian immigrants as more prone to abort girls.
"Frankly I'm disgusted," Dr. Kale
said in an interview, referring to sex-selective abortion.
"There's no way this should happen in Canada.
This is discrimination against women at its worst."
The national body representing Canada's obstetricians and gynecologists contends that Dr. Kale's
proposal flies in the face of accepted standards for patient care and fails to acknowledge that changing deep-rooted cultural beliefs, not imposing heavy-handed restrictions, is the key.
Also cited in Dr. Kale's
editorial is a U.S. study of 65 female Indian immigrants that found that 40 per cent had previously aborted a female fetus and 90 per cent of those currently pregnant with a girl had pursued the idea of abortion.
Dr. Jha said that until there is a clear picture of the scale of the problem and which communities are involved, it's premature to adopt the restrictive measures suggested by Dr. Kale's
Dr. Kale has been interim editor-in-chief at the CMAJ since last fall and has consistently made headlines with his editorials, including a piece that called for an end to hospital parking fees.
Originally from India, Dr. Kale worked as a senior editor at the British Medical Journal before taking a position with the CMAJ as senior deputy editor in 2008.
In the editorial released Monday, he
said a ban on revealing the sex of a fetus until the 30th week of pregnancy - information he
describes as "medically irrelevant" - would require only a temporary compromise from women of all ethnicities and could save thousands of girls.