U.S. Must Join Other Nations Banning Sex-Selection Abortion

Opinion   |   Rebecca Taylor   |   Apr 24, 2012   |   1:02PM   |   Washington, DC

Many countries around the world have banned sex selection. They have banned the abortion of a fetus biased on gender and/or they have banned the practice of using IVF and then preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to determine the sex of embryos.

Often the only exception is for sex-linked genetic disorders. These countries have said loud and clear that choosing which children get to live and which ones are slated to die based simply on their gender is a evil their society will not tolerate. According to the Center for Genetics and Society’s BioPolicyWiki page, the following countries have banned sex selection, either for non-medical reasons or altogether:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

You won’t find the United States on that list. Why? Likely because we have mythical “reproductive rights” that ensure we can abort any fetus or toss out any IVF embryo for any reason. Only a handful of states have laws on the books that outlaw sex selective abortion.

There is proposed federal legislation that would bring the whole United States at least partly in line with other nations around the world. It is called the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act and it has been reintroduced recently to the U.S. Congress by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ). The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, called PRENDA for short, would punish medical providers that perform abortions or accept funds for abortions when the reason for the abortion is the gender or race of the fetus. Unfortunately, it leaves sex selection through IVF and PGD untouched.

Of course feminists everywhere must be cheering this legislation because the majority of victims of sex selection around the world are girls. But the pro-abortion feminists are not. In the pro-abortion mind, “reproductive rights” trump every other right, even the right to life of other females. They prefer legislation that protects “choice” instead of legislation that protects actual women in the womb.

Just like pro-aborts justify ending life in the womb by pretending there is no life in the womb, those opposed to PRENDA just pretend that sex selection in the United States does not exist. One writer at Jezebel called sex selection in the U.S. “a problem rampant only in its rampant nonexistence.” Nancy Northup, President of Center for Reproductive Rights, called PRENDA a “trumped up bill for a trumped up problem.”

And yet there is evidence that sex selection is alive and well in the United States. Exhibit A: a study done by Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund, of UC Berkeley that looked at U.S. 2000 Census data. They found that among U.S.-born children of Chinese, Korean, and Asian Indian parents there is a male bias especially in third children. They report, “If there was no previous son, sons outnumbered daughters by 50%.” And they concluded, “We interpret the found deviation in favor of sons to be evidence of sex selection, most likely at the prenatal stage.”

Exhibit B: A study of 2 abortion clinics in the San Francisco Bay area that service a high South Asian immigrant population found shocking evidence of sex selection. Forbes reported that not only did 89% of pregnant women who were carrying girls abort their child during the study period, but there was evidence of coercion, sometimes violent, by husbands and in-laws to do so.

Exhibit C: Advertisements for sex selection services in the Canadian press, where such services are illegal, by United States doctors. The Washington Center for Reproductive Medicine in Bellevue, Washington has been placing ads saying they can provide Canadians “the family they want, boy or girl.” The advertisements have caused concern because of recent study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showing that South Korean and Indian-born women who have immigrated to Canada have an unnaturally high proportion of boys as second and third children.

I wonder why doctors in the United States would advertise sex selection services, when according to some pro-abortion feminists sex selection in the United States is “non-existent”? Maybe because sex selection in the United States does exist.

And it is time for sex selection in the U.S. to end. At the minimum we need federal legislation like PRENDA that would make aborting a fetus based on gender a crime. And like other countries around the world we should also prohibit the use of IVF and PGD solely to have a child of a certain gender. Both would go along way to say that, in the United States, we value all life, not just lives with the “right” gender.