Arizona House OKs Ban on Sex-Selection, Race-Based Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 22, 2011   |   1:55PM   |   Phoenix, AZ

The Arizona state House has signed off on a bill that bans abortions sought for sex-selection reasons or because the unborn child is of a certain race.

Although the practice is frequently seen in Asian nations like China, India and Vietnam, it has crossed the Pacific Ocean as Asian immigrants have come to the United States and brought with them their cultural preference for sons.

The legislation would ban sex-selection abortions and require women seeking abortions to sign a statement saying they are not obtaining the abortion because of the gender of the unborn baby. The bill also prohibits abortions based on the race of the unborn child. The father of the unborn child or the parents of a minor girl would be able to file a lawsuit for civil damages against abortion practitioners that do race-based or sex-selection abortions.

A majority of the Arizona House of Representatives on Monday agreed to those stipulations and voted for House Bill 2443 on a 41-18 vote. The bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration.

Rep. Steve Montenegro, a Republican from Litchfield Park, is the sponsor of the measure and, according to the Arizona Republic, he said the law was needed to protect against “bigotry and prejudice.” Montenegro pointed to a 2010 Economist magazine article on “gender-cide” that documented a bias against black babies and said many abortions on black babies are done because of the race of the child.

Rep. Matt Heinz, a Democrat from Tucson, and Rep. Katie Hobbs, of Phoenix, led the opposition and said the bill was unnecessary.

U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona congressman, also supports the bill and has been pushing for similar legislation on the federal level.

“Sex-selection abortion is a growing tragedy in our state,” he said in a letter Montenegro read to his colleagues.

The vote mostly broke along party lines but three Democrats, Reps. Albert Hale of Window Rock, Catherine Miranda of Phoenix and Macario Saldate of Tucson, voted for it. Rep. Russ Jones of Yuma joined Brophy McGee as the only Republicans voting against the measure.