Health insurance encouraging gender selection?

Research suggests that covering abortions in health policies may be leading to more boys being born than girls

Health insurance encouraging gender selection?

The legality of abortions is a highly controversial issue – and now new research looks set to add fuel to the fire.

Currently in Canada, abortions are covered by government health insurance: and now new research has suggested that as abortions are legal and covered in this way, some families may be taking advantage by using the procedure to terminate females when they want a boy.

Read more: Companies that pay for abortion travel expenses met with mixed responses

The Canadian Medical Association Journal has published research showing that Canadian born women in Ontario gave birth to 105 boys for every 100 girls from 1993-2012: consistent with the average across the world. However, among women who emigrated from India who already had two children, the ratio changes to 138 boys for every 100 girls. Those with three children gave birth to 166 males for every 100 girls.

Even more eye-catching is the number among Indian-born mothers who are seeking a third child after two daughters. In those cases, the ratio comes to 326 boys for every 100 girls. Meanwhile, if the mother had more than one abortion there were 409 boys for every 100 girls.

According to the study’s author Marcelo Urquia, of St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, using technologies to select the fetus’s sex is illegal – but couples can see the sex of the baby at 14 weeks, with a termination still possible.