Sex-Selection Abortion: A War on Baby Girls

Opinion   |   Rep. Chris Smith   |   May 31, 2012   |   10:20AM   |   Washington, DC

Last year, an undercover video-taped sting operation by Live Action ( exposed several Planned Parenthood affiliates who were eager, ready and willing to facilitate secret abortions for underage sex trafficking victims—some as young or younger than 14— to get them on the streets again.

As the prime sponsor of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, I found the on-the-record willingness of Planned Parenthood personnel to exploit young girls and partner with sex traffickers to be absolutely appalling.

Now Live Action has released another sting operation video—part of a new series, Gendercide: Sex Selection in America—showing Planned Parenthood staff advising an undercover female investigator how to procure a sex-selection abortion.

Caught on tape, Planned Parenthood tells the investigator to wait until the baby is 5 months along to get an ultrasound that will reveal the sex of the child.

Then, if it’s a girl, kill it.

Yesterday, the Huffington Post reported that “no Planned Parenthood clinic will deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one, except in states that explicitly prohibit sex selection abortions.”

In other words, Planned Parenthood is OK with exterminating a child in its huge network of clinics simply because she’s a girl. What a dangerous place for little girls. Let’s not forget that Planned Parenthood aborts approximately 330,000 children each year. This, Mr. Speaker, is the real war on women.

For most of us, Mr. Speaker, “it’s a girl” is cause for enormous joy, happiness and celebration. But in many countries—including our own—it can be a death sentence. Today, the three most dangerous words in China and India are: it’s a girl. We can’t let that happen here.

By now most people know that the killing of baby girls by abortion or at birth is pervasive in China due to the One Child policy and a preference for sons. China and India are “missing” tens of millions of daughters.

In her book, Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, Mara Hvistendahl, traces the sordid history of sex-selection abortion as a means of population control. “By August 1969, when the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Population Council convened another workshop on population control, sex selection had become a pet scheme… Sex selection, moreover, had the added advantage of reducing the number of potential mothers…if a reliable sex determination technology could be made available to a mass market,” there was “rough consensus” that sex selection abortion “ would be an effective, uncontroversial and ethical way of reducing the global population.”

Fewer women, fewer mothers, fewer future children.

At the conference, one abortion zealot, Christopher Tietze co-presented sex selection abortion as one of twelve new strategies representing the future of global birth control. Planned Parenthood honored Tietze four years later with the Margaret Sanger Award.

(I would note parenthetically, in March of 2009, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton also received the Margaret Sanger Award and said in her acceptance speech that she was “in awe” of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. To our distinguished Secretary of State, I respectfully ask: Are you kidding? In “awe” of Margaret Sanger, who said in 1921, “Eugenics…is the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political, and social problems.” And who also said in 1922, “The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”

Secretary Clinton in her speech said that Margaret Sanger’s “life and leadership” was “one of the most transformational in the entire history of the human race.” Mr. Speaker, transformational, yes, but not for the better if one happens to be a woman, poor, disenfranchised, weak, a person of color, vulnerable, or among the many so-called undesirables who Sanger would exclude and exterminate from the human race.)

Mr. Speaker, these cruel, anti-woman policies have had horrific consequences.

Hvistendahl writes that today “there are over 160 million females “missing” from Asia’s population. That’s more than the entire female population of the United States. And gender imbalance—which is mainly the result of sex selective abortion—is no longer strictly an Asian problem. In Azerbaijan and Armenia, in Eastern Europe, and even among some groups in the United States, couples are making sure at least one of their children is a son. So many parents now select for boys that they have skewed the sex ratio at birth of the entire world.”

In the Global War Against Baby Girls renowned AEI demographer Nicholas Eberstadt wrote in The New Atlantis last Fall; “over the past three decades the world has come to witness an ominous and entirely new form of gender discrimination: sex-selective feticide, implemented through the practice of surgical abortion with the assistance of information gained through prenatal gender determination technology. All around the world, the victims of this new practice are overwhelmingly female — in fact, almost universally female. The practice has become so ruthlessly routine in many contemporary societies that it has impacted their very population structures, warping the balance between male and female births and consequently skewing the sex ratios for the rising generation toward a biologically unnatural excess of males. This still-growing international predilection for sex-selective abortion is by now evident in the demographic contours of dozens of countries around the globe — and it is sufficiently severe that it has come to alter the overall sex ratio at birth of the entire planet, resulting in millions upon millions of new “missing baby girls” each year. In terms of its sheer toll in human numbers, sex-selective abortion has assumed a scale tantamount to a global war against baby girls.”

As far back as 1990, Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen wrote in The New York Review of Books that “More than 100 Million Women are Missing.” In 2003 Sen wrote that sex-selection abortion was the primary cause.

A 2008 study by Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund of Columbia University documented “male-biased sex ratios among U.S. born children of Chinese, Korean and Asian Indian parents in the 2000 U.S. census. The male bias is particularly evident for third children: If there was no previous son, sons outnumbered daughters by 50%…We interpret the found deviation in favor of sons to be evidence of sex selection, most likely at the prenatal stage.”

A study published in2011 by Sunita Puri and three other researchers undertook “in-depth interviews with 65 immigrant Indian women in the United States who had pursued fetal sex selection on the East and West Coasts of the United States between September 2004 and December 2009…” and found “that 40% of the women interviewed had terminated prior pregnancies with female fetuses and that 89% of women carrying female fetuses in their current pregnancy pursued an abortion.”

Many European nations including the UK as well as several Asian countries ban sex selection abortion. Only four US states—Arizona, Illinois, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania—proscribe it.

The United States is a destination country for sex selection abortion. According to the House Judiciary Committee Report, “women cross the border from Canada (where it is illegal) to obtain sex selection abortions in the United States.”

The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, authored by pro-life champion Congressman Trent Franks, seeks an end to this pernicious form of violence against women by prescribing criminal and civil penalties on abortionists who knowingly perform an abortion based on sex or gender of the child.

If enacted, the Act will also penalize anyone who uses force or the threat of force to intentionally injure or intimidate any person for the purpose of coercing a sex selection abortion. This anti-coercion provision is an extremely important protection for women.



According to the House Judiciary Committee Report; “”sex-selection abortions are oftentimes coerced.” The Report notes “women who refuse sex-selection abortions are sometimes physically abused. A woman may be denied food, water, and rest to induce abortion where it is determined that the woman is carrying a female unborn child. Some women described being hit, pushed, choked and kicked in the abdomen in a husband’s attempt to terminate a female unborn child. Pregnancy is already a vulnerable time for women; the most common cause of death for pregnant women in the United States is homicide, often at the hands of the unborn child’s father.”

And the Act will hold accountable anyone who knowingly solicits or accepts funds for the performance of a sex selection abortion or transports a woman into the U.S. or across a state line for a sex selection abortion.

Sex-selection abortion is cruel and discriminatory and legal. It is violence against women. Most people in and out of government remain woefully unaware of the fact that sex-selection abortion was—a violent, nefarious and deliberate policy imposed on the world by the pro-abortion population control movement—it’s not an accident. The Congress can—and must—defend women from this vicious assault today. Note: Congressman Chris Smith is a Republican from New Jersey and the head of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. These remarks were delivered during the debate on the bill to ban sex-selection abortions.