"Recent studies have shown that the practice of aborting females in favour of males is happening in Canada,” Warawa said in introducing his bill. “Ninety-two per cent of Canadians believe sex-selective pregnancy termination should be illegal.”
STORY CONTINUES BELOW SLIDESHOW
The Canadian Medical Association Journal published a study in April that suggested Canadian women born in South Korea and India have an unusually high proportion of boys compared to other women.
"Our findings raise the possibility that couples originating from India may be more likely than Canadian-born couples to use prenatal sex determination and terminate a second or subsequent pregnancy if the fetus is female," the study’s lead author Dr. Joel Ray, a physician at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, told Postmedia.
Although there is no available data on the number of sex-selective abortions in Canada, there were at least 93,755 induced abortions performed in 2009 (the last year national data is available.) in Canadian hospitals and clinics, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information in 2009.
Warawa's motion comes on the heels of a controversial vote in the House of Commons Wednesday on Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth's motion to form a committee to examine the definition of a human being. Warawa has been a vocal supporter of Woodworth's motion and even made a video for constituents praising the idea.
The motion was defeated 203 to 91, with 87 Conservatives and four Liberals voting in favour.
On Twitter, Ambrose suggested she supported Woodworth’s pro-life motion to raise concerns about the discrimination toward girls via "sex selection abortion."
“[N]o law needed, but we need awareness!,” she tweeted.
Although she stunned many in her own party by voting in favour of M-312, Ambrose was praised by social conservatives Thursday.
“Minister Ambrose is to be commended for having an open mind,” said Andrea Mrozek, the founder of a group calling itself ProWomanProLife. “There is a stranglehold on freedom of expression around abortion, a dictatorial attitude that somehow all women are supposed to be fervently pro-choice,” she added. Mrozek is also the communications manager for the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.
Critics, however, suggested Ambrose isn't fit to be Canada’s Minister for Status of Women.
"Well, this motion was clearly about undermining women’s equality, reproductive rights. That’s been very clear from day one and I think that’s how the vote was taken," NDP Deputy Leader Libby Davis told reporters Thursday. "So I think [Ambrose] can rationalize it all she wants, but as the Status of Women, she clearly betrayed the women of this country by not standing up and ensuring that we don’t let the clock be turned backwards. So I think it was disappointing."
Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae told reporters on Thursday he was personally surprised by Ambrose's vote, but that "these are private members motions and individuals will have different views and explanations for their vote."
Rae also said Ambrose's decision and Warawa's motion show "just how deep the ... anti-choice movement is within the Conservative Party."
With files from The Canadian Press
Related on HuffPost:
Peter Van Loan
Where The Parties Stand On Abortion
Here's a look at the official position of Canada's federal parties, and how the controversial debate has reared its head in recent years. <em>With files from CBC</em>
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has repeatedly said that he has no interest in addressing the issue head-on.<br><br>"As long as I am prime minister we are not opening the abortion debate," Mr. Harper said in April 2011. "The government will not bring forward any such legislation, and any such legislation that is brought forward will be defeated as long as I am prime minister." (CP)
NDP leader Tom Mulcair has stated that his caucus is unanimous in its opposition to the private member's motion calling on Parliament to look at whether a fetus is a human being, but he plans to force his MPs to vote along party lines.<br><br>"We're resolutely in favour of women's right to choose," Mulcair declared. (CP)
Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae has stressed that the abortion issue is matter of individual conscience. Rae expressed his personal opposition to reopening the debate, but said Liberal MPs will be allowed to vote "their conscience" rather than force them to toe the party line.<br><br>"Our position on reproductive choice, my position on reproductive choice is very, very clear. It has been for decades. The position is it's a person's right to choose." (CP)
Planned Parenthood Funding Controversy
Saskatoon-Humboldt MP Brad Trost tells Saskatchewan's ProLife Association in April 2011 that the federal government has decided to cut funding to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, a decision he says was influenced by anti-abortion supporters.<br><br>"I cannot tell you specifically how we used it, but those petitions were very, very useful and they were part of what we used to defund Planned Parenthood because it has been an absolute disgrace that that organization and several others like it have been receiving one penny of Canadian taxpayers' dollars," Trost said.<br><br>Maurice Vellacott, a Conservative MP from Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, also calls for Planned Parenthood to be defunded.<br><br>Vellacott says the controversy over the funding "exposed the lies and destructiveness of IPPF's agenda."<br><br>"It exposes what this abortion giant is surreptitiously trying to achieve worldwide."<br><br>International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda approves funding. (CP)
'Coerced' Abortion Law
Conservative Winnipeg MP Rod Bruinooge proposes "Roxanne's Law" in 2010, a bill that would penalize anyone who "coerced" a woman into ending her pregnancy against her will.<br><br>"It's not just as simple as feeling pressured to get an abortion; there is a lot of discussion of sex-selection abortion these days, as well," Bruinooge told the Winnipeg Free Press. "It's part of the overall topic of intimidation that goes towards a pregnant woman."<br><br>Bruinooge insisted the bill wasn't meant to force Parliament to wade into the debate banned by Harper, stating that nothing in his bill made it illegal to abort a fetus.<br><br>But the Liberals and New Democrats saw it as a backdoor entry into the touchy topic.<br><br>"How is an abortion bill not an abortion bill?" said then-Liberal MP Anita Neville. "This certainly introduces discussion into the House of Commons and it is a rather sneaky way of doing it."<br><br>Then-NDP leader Jack Layton echoed her concerns. "You have got to wonder what is really going on here."<br><br>The bill was defeated in December of 2010, with 178 votes for and 97 against it. Harper and many Conservatives voted against it and 10 Liberals supported it. The NDP was unanimously against it. (Handout)
International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda discloses for the first time in April 2011 that Canada will not fund abortions in its G8 child and maternal health-care initiative for developing countries.<br><br>Keith Martin, then-Liberal MP who had defected from the Tories years earlier, expressed outrage. "People here are perplexed and wondering why Canada is rolling back the clock and depriving women in developing countries from having the same rights to basic health care and access to abortion as women in Canada," he said.<br><br>Then-NDP leader Jack Layton accused the Tories of putting Canada on side with former U.S. president George Bush, who reduced support for abortion-related aid.<br><br>"It's picking up the banner that George Bush used to carry, and I think that that's not something that would be supported by the majority of Canadians, that's for sure," Layton said.<br><br>On June 25, Canada pledged $1.1 billion to a global initiative on maternal and child health for developing countries - a disproportionately high amount compared to other G8 countries. Canada did not allow for its share to be used in the funding of abortions. (CP)