New Abortion Center in New York Targets Brits Who Want Sex-Selection Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 24, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Abortion Center in New York Targets Brits Who Want Sex-Selection Abortions

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 24
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A new abortion business in Manhattan is appealing to residents of Britain who want a sex-selection abortion. The abortion center uses pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), which is banned in England, to determine the sex of the unborn baby and allows couples to have an abortion if they want a child of another gender.

The PGD process is normally used to screen for genetic diseases but it can also reveal the sex of a baby during pregnancy.

Jeffrey Steinberg opened his New York clinic in January and he tells the London Times that half of the people who go there for a potential sex-selection abortion are from the UK.

In an interview he expressed some reservations about his practice but appeared more interested in the financial windfall it presents him.

“Britain is far more conservative than it used to be. They were the innovators but now they’ve got handcuffs on," he told the newspaper. “From a business standpoint, it’s the best thing going. From a medical standpoint, it’s a travesty.”

The paper says the abortion facility isn’t the only one in the United States to use PGD to determine the sex of the baby that could result in an abortion afterwards.

The Genetics and IVF Institute in Virginia was one of the first in the United States to use the PGD for such purposes and officials there say between 10 and 15 percent of the tests it does are for couples who live abroad.

Gary Harton, its PGD scientific director, told the Times, “The people that want to do it will come and find you.”

Although sex-selection abortions were thought to be confined to Asian nations like China and Vietnam, where a strong cultural preference for boys exists, the phenomenon is spreading.

Last year, a national study showed the possibility that the practice of sex-selection abortions has made its way from Asia to the United States.

Researchers Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund of the National Academy of Sciences say their analysis of the 2000 Census shows the odds prematurely increasing for Asian-American families from China, Korea and India to have a boy if they already have a girl child.

The data "suggest that in a sub-population with a traditional son preference, the technologies are being used to generate male births when preceding births are female," they wrote in the paper.

"Based on the most recent census, sex-selection abortion is also taking place in the United States," Frank says.

That has prompted Franks, an Arizona Republican congressman who is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, to introduce a new bill that would ban sex-selection or race-based abortions.

Franks has introduced the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, which would prohibit knowingly performing or financing sex-selection or race-based abortions.
Franks says the bill is needed because abortions on black babies are done at much higher rates than abortions on babies of other races.

"It is estimated that as many as 50% of African-American babies conceived in the U.S. each year" become abortion victims, he said.

Franks also noted that abortion centers are disproportionately placed in African-American communities and he pointed out that Planned Parenthood has come under fire for accepting donations from people claiming to want the abortion business to target blacks.

"Following the unearthing of the nation-wide race-targeted abortion donations, civil rights activists and African-American pastors from across the country protested government acquiescence in race-targeted abortion and the government funding of clinics that they believe are purposefully placed in the inner city and targeted to minority women," he said.

Franks also says the bill is needed to target sex-selection abortions.

Franks indicated a majority of Americans would likely support the bill and noted a 2006 Zogby International poll shows that 86% of the American public desires a law to ban sex selection abortion. The poll surveyed a whopping 30,117 respondents in 48 states.

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