In yet another attempt by conservative politicians to tell us what we can and cannot do with our lady parts, House Representative Trent Franks of Arizona authored a bill to make abortions based on sex-selection illegal.
The bill, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, failed with a vote of 246-168. Had the measure passed, it would have placed doctors in the difficult position of being responsible for determining a woman’s motive for requesting an abortion. Some Asian-American organizations feared it could also cause racial profiling of Asian-American women. Sex-selection abortions are more common in Asian countries due to laws limiting the number of children each household can have to one.
The legislation would have made it a federal offense to perform an abortion on a woman who has chosen to abort because she is unhappy with the sex of her child and would carry a five year prison sentence for doctors found in violation.
Franks said there was evidence that sex-selection abortions were already occurring in the U.S. particularly among ethnic groups from countries where there is a preference for baby boys, which doesn’t sound like racial profiling at all.
A representative from the National Women’s Law Center, Marcia Greenberger, said that the bill discriminates against women by “subjecting women from certain racial and ethnic backgrounds to additional scrutiny about their decision to terminate a pregnancy.”
Conservatives are touting sex-selection abortions as a “war on baby girls” despite the fact that there is no evidence that the gender of a baby plays any significant role in the majority of abortions in the U.S. While recent census data did show some evidence of son preference in Asian-American households, the overall U.S. sex ratio at birth in 2005 was 105 boys to 100 girls, well within biologically normal parameters.
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