Louisiana Committee Passes Pro-Life Bill to Ban Sex-Selection Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 6, 2015   |   5:30PM   |   Baton Rouge, LA

After research has shown that the practice of sex-selection abortion has made its way from Asian nations to the United States, pro-life advocates are moving forward with legislation to ban sex-selection abortions that target girl babies.

Today, the Pre-Natal Non-Discrimination and Sex-Disclosure Act (HB 701) sailed through the House Health and Welfare Committee without opposition. Louisiana Right to Life strongly supports the bill and says HB 701, authored by Rep. Lenar Whitney, R-Houma, accomplishes two main objectives:

  • First, HB 701 protects babies from sex-selective abortion, which occurs most often when abortion is being performed because the baby is a girl instead of a boy.Studies show that across the world millions of baby girls are missing from our society due to this violent form of gender discrimination. If this legislation passes, it will prohibit abortion facilities from performing an abortion if they know the reason for the abortion is based on the sex of the unborn baby.
  • Second, HB 701 requires that, after 10 weeks post-fertilization age of the unborn child, the abortion physicians make their best efforts in accord with standard medical practices to determine the sex of the baby and inform the woman if the sex can be determined.If in the abortion physician’s best judgment the sex cannot be determined, he must share that information with the woman as well.This furthers the long tradition of our Woman’s Right to Know law empowering women with as much medical information about their pregnancy and the physiological characteristics of their unborn child.

Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life, testified today in favor of the legislation.

He made the following comments afterwards, “Our sex, whether we are male or female, is an essential element of who we are as human persons. Unborn babies are no different. Abortion should never occur because a baby is a boy or a girl, and HB 701 ensures that in Louisiana, gender equality begins in the womb. In addition, mothers, even those considering abortion, should be informed of the sex of the baby prior to abortion if it is discoverable. Women have a right to know this critical information.

“We are appreciative to Rep. Whitney’s leadership, along with all members of the Health and Welfare Committee, especially Chairman Scott Simon and Vice Chairman Frank Hoffman,” Clapper concluded.

This bill, crafted using model legislation from National Right to Life, would prohibit abortion when based on the gender of the unborn baby and provide for civil actions against those who violate the law.

“It is sad that people in our world would kill unborn children simply because they are baby girls instead of baby boys,” Rep. Whitney said. “Louisiana, as a leader in protecting human life, has a responsibility through this legislation to ensure that this form of discrimination does not take place within our borders. I look forward to passing this legislation and placing it on Gov. Jindal’s desk for his signature.”

In Washington, Louisiana Sen. David Vitter is the sponsor of the federal version of the Pre-Natal Non-Discrimination Act, S. 48.

“It’s chilling to realize that many babies – almost always girls – are aborted purely as a method of selecting the opposite, preferred sex. That’s flat out wrong, but it happens regularly. I support Rep. Whitney’s Louisiana version of PRENDA, and I look forward to passing the federal version in the U.S. Senate,” said Vitter.



Restrictions have also been placed on sex-selection abortion in countries such as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

While the U.S. has no such restrictions, sex selection has increasingly becoming problematic, he added.

“A 2009 New York Times story cited several studies showing that Americans of Chinese, Indian and Korean descent retain a preference for sons and occasionally choose abortion because of it. And a 2011 article in Forbes reported on two abortion businesses located in areas of high Asian-immigrant populations that allowed researchers to interview their patients. According to the article, researchers found 89 percent of the women surveyed who were carrying girls aborted them. Half of those women said they had aborted girls before, and many of the women reported they were coerced into the abortion by threats of divorce and violence if they did not bear sons,” he explained.

So far, eight states – Illinois, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas and North Carolina – have enacted laws prohibiting sex-selection abortion. Louisiana would be the ninth.