Facts about Sex-Selective Abortion

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Overview: Sex-Selective Abortion

The use of abortion as a means of sex selection is a major social problem in a number of Asian countries, including China and India, and it is increasingly becoming problematic in the United States.

According to the National Right to Life Committee, there are credible estimates that more than 160 million women and girls are missing from the world due to sex selection. Writing in the Fall 2011 issue of The New Atlantis, political economist Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute observed, "In terms of its sheer toll in human numbers, sex-selective abortion has assumed a scale tantamount to a global war against baby girls."

Multiple academic papers have put forward evidence that the practice of sex-selection by
abortion is increasing in the United States, especially, although not exclusively, within
communities of immigrants from Asia. For example, a study by researchers at the University of Connecticut, published in Prenatal Diagnosis in March 2011, concluded, "The male to female livebirth sex ratio in the United States exceeded expected biological variation for third+ births to Chinese, Asian Indians and Koreans, strongly suggesting prenatal sex selection."

In Louisiana

In the 2015 Louisiana Legislative Session, Rep. Lenar Whitney (R-Houma) has filed H.B. 701, the Louisiana Pre-Natal Non-Discrimination Act (PRENDA), in the Louisiana Legislature and will be considered before the House Health and Welfare Committee.
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 similar to the Federal version of PRENDA discussed below.

While there are no documented examples of sex-selective abortion in Louisiana, Louisiana must take action to ensure that this violent form of gender discrimination is not allowed in Louisiana. 

Read the text of HB 701 as of April 13, 2015.

Have any states enacted laws banning sex selection?

Yes. Eight states — Arizona, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Dakota, Kansas and North Carolina — have passed laws banning sex-selective abortions.

In Washington D.C

The U.S. does not currently restrict sex selection through law, but efforts to ban sex-selection abortions continue in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter is lead author in the Senate of the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (S.138) that would prohibit discrimination against the unborn in the form of selective abortion on the basis of sex. The first version of the bill was introduced on Jan. 24, 2013, after a similar Senate bill died in the previous session of Congress. But the bill languished in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The House of Representatives took a roll call vote on its own version of the bill on May 31, 2012, and the vote was 246-168 in favor. However, while a strong majority voted to ban sex-selection abortion, the bill fell short of the two-thirds vote required under the fast-track procedure utilized.

Because a majority of House members voted in favor of the bill, pro-life advocates believe a ban on sex-selection abortions will eventually become law.

"Today's groundbreaking majority vote was a stepping stone to this bill ultimately becoming law - perhaps after the replacement of some of the lawmakers who today were unwilling to protect victimized women and their unborn daughters from sex-selection abortions, because they were more concerned with maintaining favor with the abortion industry, pro-abortion advocacy groups, and Hollywood donors," National Right to Life Legislative Director Douglas Johnson said following the House vote.

In 2015, Senator Vitter re-introduced the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (S.48).

What does Senate Bill 48 do?

The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2013 imposes criminal penalties on anyone who knowingly or knowingly attempts to: (1) perform an abortion knowing that the abortion is sought based on the sex or gender of the child, (2) use force or the threat of force to intentionally injure or intimidate any person for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection abortion, (3) solicit or accept funds for the performance of such an abortion, or (4) transport a woman into the United States or across a state line for the purpose of obtaining such an abortion.

Are there are related bills currently active on the federal level?

Yes. HB 447 was introduced into the House of Representatives on Feb. 1, 2013, by Rep. Trent Franks , R-AZ, and was referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, where it remains.

 Is there public support for banning sex-selection abortions?

Yes. A 2012 public opinion poll by the Charlotte Lozier Institute  found that strong majorities of American adults of both sexes, in every region of the country, and irrespective of age or race, favor enactment of legislation to make sex-selection abortions illegal.

The CLI poll of 1,016 U.S. adults found that, overall, 77 percent of respondents answered “yes” when asked, “When the fact that the developing baby is a girl is the sole reason for seeking an abortion, do you believe that abortion should be illegal?”  Only 16 percent of all respondents said that abortion should be legal in this circumstance.