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Gender selection:is it happening in America?

The history of the United States includes examples of both sex discrimination and race discrimination. The people of the United States ultimately responded in the strongest possible legal terms by enacting constitutional amendments correcting elements of such discrimination. Women, once subjected to sex discrimination that denied them the right to vote, now have suffrage guaranteed by the 19th amendment. African-Americans, once subjected to race discrimination through slavery that denied them equal protection of the laws, now have that right guaranteed by the 14th amendment. The elimination of discriminatory practices has been and is among the highest priorities and greatest achievements of American history.

Would you be surprised to find that the above quote was taken from a proposed bill that would limit abortions? That’s right: the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (H.R. 3541) was introduced last December “[t]o prohibit discrimination against the unborn on the basis of sex or race.”

The proposed bill cites a 1990 Harvard University report that “estimated that more than 100 million women were ‘demographically missing’ from the world as early as 1990 due to sexist practices, including sex-selection abortion.” It goes on to explain that “[m]any experts believe sex-selection abortion is the primary cause. Current estimates of women missing from the world range in the hundreds of millions.”

While a bill like this is obviously necessary in some parts of the world, is it necessary for America? Are abortions really being performed in America on the basis of gender?

The congressional findings for the bill reported two different areas of gender-based abortions. One group involves people who trace their heritage back to a country that shows a strong preference for male descendants.

The evidence strongly suggests that some Americans are exercising sex-selection abortion practices within the United States consistent with discriminatory practices common to their country of origin, or the country to which they trace their ancestry. While sex-selection abortions are more common outside the United States, the evidence reveals that female feticide is also occurring in the United States.

The other group involves those who come to the United States for the purpose of a gender-based abortion:

Public statements from within the medical community reveal that citizens of other countries come to the United States for sex-selection procedures that would be criminal in their country of origin. Because the United States permits abortion on the basis of sex, the United States may effectively function as a `safe haven’ for those who seek to have American physicians do what would otherwise be criminal in their home countries–a sex-selection abortion, most likely late-term.

It’s horrible to think that children are being aborted on the basis of gender – but more so that it’s happening in a country where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are considered unalienable rights and where everyone should be treated equally. How ironic that while abortion is touted as a women’s right, there is a disproportionate number of females who will never be receive a chance to experience life.

  • prolifepagans

    The second circumstance listed here is parallel to what happened in the United States when some states legalized abortion before others.  Abortion is a cancer that perpetuates its own “need” and it’s been doing that for more than fifty years.

  • FB123

    Yup, it’s definitely for women…

  • Oldmanbob

    There is simply no way to make this law stick.  The only way to stop this is to end abortion. 

     Is this taking place?  All you need to do is run the numbers and find the ratio of boys to girls.  While boys will outnumber girls a bit we can see that the number of girls still does not add up.  This law, while it means well can not be made to work.  There are any number of reasons to abort besides gender.  Besides PP already lies about all sorts of things don’t think they will start telling the truth. 

  • Guest

    It’s nice to see conservative lawmakers evince an interest in the representation of minority populations in the American electorate, and I hope to see them stand by that principle by opposing voter registration or identification laws that disproportionately affect minority voters.

    Neither the bill nor this article, of course, address reality: since most abortions are performed before the gestational age when an ultrasound can indicate the sex of the fetus, gender selection is mostly occurring at the pre-pregnancy stage, either with “sperm sorting” or (more likely) with genetic testing to determine which embryos will be implanted in IVF.  Fertility clinics openly advertise gender-selective IVF services both in the US and abroad, so that, not late-term abortion, is the sex-selection procedure that foreigners are coming here for.  Outlawing gender considerations in IVF would therefore be the most effective way of limiting prenatal sex selection.  But since reality doesn’t offer an opportunity to harass Planned Parenthood, Live Action has no interest in it.

    • Beachharry

      Where are your sources to back that up?? It is highly unlikely, especially in poorer countries where an abortion would be much cheaper then fertility and sex selection treatments, if these were even available at all.

      • Guest

        I meant sex selection in the US, which is the subject of this article. 

        You won’t have much trouble finding sources on sex selection at the pre-implantation stage if you bother to look for them. I’m linking some below.  The first one addresses abortion as well as IVF.   The rest deal largely with fertility clinics offering gender selection.  Note that in the second article, a physician who aggressively markets gender-selective reproductive technologies says that about 70% of his patients are from Canada or further abroad.  As I said in my previous comment, couples are not coming to the US to avoid their own nations’ laws against sex-selective late-term abortion, as PreNDA claims.  They are coming to avoid laws against sex-selective fertility treatment.

        I’m not denying that sex-selective abortion does happen in the US, and I realize that many people who oppose abortion also oppose some or all assisted reproduction practices.  However, while abortion clinics may perform an abortion knowing that the client requested it because of the gender of the fetus, they’re not encouraging women to do it or using it as a selling point for their clinics.  But fertility clinics are marketing sex-selective IVF, and are even encouraging couples who could conceive naturally to instead opt for a procedure that will almost certainly produce embryos that will not be implanted because they are the ‘wrong’ sex.  Some pro-lifers have clucked their tongues over the practice, but they’re not attempting to legislate against it.  In fact, the “Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act” is written in a way that specifically does not protect test-tube embryos from discrimination, in spite of pro-lifers’ purported belief that those embryos are ‘persons’ who are no different from either an embryo in utero or an adult.  Why?  Because they don’t really care about discrimination.  They care about harassing abortion providers.

        To be fair to the legislators, I imagine that some of them are not aware that a lot of prenatal sex selection does not involve abortion, and it’s probably safe to assume that the pro-life lobbyists behind the bill have not explained it to them.

        http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2011/08/i_know_its_a_girl_and_i_need_your_help_to_get_it_out_of_me.html
        http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/2010/07/29/top-ivf-doctor-defends-offering-help-for-parents-to-pick-babies-sex-86908-22448519
        http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500164_162-611618.html
        http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2012/04/30/canadian-politician-takes-stand-as-sex-selection-choices-change

    • Randomseller

      women are not a minority.

  • Jane Hartman

    So let me understand this – I can abort my unborn child if I don’t want him/her, but I mustn’t abort him or her she is the gender I didn’t want.  I would think this is really where discrimination works as a force for determining that this is really a human being and that abortion is murdering a human being.

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