Drive to Ban Sex-Selective Abortion Gaining Momentum

On September 23, 2008, Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona introduced a bill.  Its purpose seemed straightforward and its cause universal: put an end to the wholesale killing of little girls whose only crime was that they were little girls.  One might have thought that this bill would have garnered universal support, with everyone from radical feminists to conservative Christians clamoring for its passage.

The problem was that this legislation would protect unborn little girls.

The Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2009 (PreNDA) seeks to criminalize the practice of sex-selective and race-selective abortions, which are growing more prevalent among certain communities in the United States.  At the time of this writing, the bill has 29 co-sponsors, including 27 Republicans and 2 Democrats (you can view the bill and its co-sponsors here).

According to the National Academy of Sciences, some Asian-American groups have imported a preference for boys and are dramatically altering their demographic landscape by selectively eliminating baby girls from their population.  Add to this the problem of African-American abortions, where some statistics suggest that as many as half of African-American pregnancies are terminated, and the need for such a bill becomes self-evident.

As Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R- NE) summed up the matter the day the bill was announced: “Abortion is the leading cause of death for African-American children.  Abortion clinics target the heart of urban minority communities, and more than twice as many black children are eliminated through abortion than are born.  Also, nearly 100 million unborn girls have been put to death simply because they are girls.  This bill addresses this profound injustice.”

Even The New York Times, not known for its conservative leanings, expressed concern in a June 15th article by Sam Roberts.  “A number of experts expressed surprise to see evidence that the preference for sons among Asian-Americans has been so significantly carried over to this country,” wrote Roberts.  “Demographers say the statistical deviation among Asian-American families is significant, and they believe it reflects not only a preference for male children, but a growing tendency for these families to embrace sex-selection techniques.”

Regardless of one’s views on abortion, it would seem that legislators and thinkers on both sides of the issue could agree that no baby should die for reasons of race of sex.

Not so.  The bill has all but stalled in an overwhelmingly liberal Congress.  As we in the pro-life movement have found, feminists refuse to support even the most reasonable and necessary restrictions on abortion.

Public opinion is another matter.

For one, a 2006 Zogby International poll, found that 87% of the American public would like to see legislation banning sex-selective abortions.  This is not a simple majority, but an overwhelming one.  And it is especially surprising in a nation where more than 40% of the population calls itself “pro-choice.”

Consider also that in 2007 the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women passed a resolution condemning sex-selective abortion.  The U.N. body, which rarely meets an abortion it doesn’t embrace, condemned the practice as violence against women, and “one of the most pervasive human rights abuses.”

Add to this the most recent Gallup poll on the abortion issue, which found that 51% of Americans are now “calling themselves ‘pro-life’ on the issue of abortion.  Only 42% call themselves “pro-choice.” According to Gallup, this is “the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995.”

Legislatively, the movement to ban sex-selective abortion is gaining momentum as well.  Illinois, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania already have statutes prohibiting sex-selection abortion, and the issue has been raised in the West Virginia and Montana legislatures as well.

The evidence is in: Americans don’t want sex-selection abortion.  They don’t even really want abortion, as even those who advocate it favor increasing restrictions.  By refusing to deal with the problem of sex-selective abortion, feminists and other left-leaning legislators are not only permitting the continuation of an unconscionable sexist practice, they are doing so in opposition to the views of the very Americans they claim to represent.

Sex-selection abortion flies in the face of everything American values represent: liberty, equality, and justice for all.  If liberals and feminists really did care about women’s rights, and the cause of the downtrodden, they would oppose this practice, as does the majority of the American public.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • SeanReynoldsNZ

    Just so no one gets confused, I support this as a general measure as abortion should not be legal under any circumstances. It is murder pure and simple.

    The problem that you Americans will face in driving this one forward is Roe v Wade. Essentially, that ruling means that one seeking an abortion does not need a reason in the first trimester, and can have an abortion for any reason in the remainder of the pregnancy. Laws banning sex-selection abortion will be struck down as unconstitutional as long as Roe stands. Let’s face it: If people can have an abortion for any circumstances, then why not for reasons of sex selection? The only people who are being consistent in this debate are: The proponents of legal abortion for any reason like Barack Obama; and the pro-lifers who oppose abortion under all circumstances. The rest are woolly-headed in their thinking and really have no real reason guiding it. This doesn’t mean that we should disparage them, but get them to think their position through, and show them that the only reasonable position is all or nothing.

    I am also aware as well that a large number of abortion clinics are in neighbourhoods that are by and large African-American. While the presence of the clinic there is targeting that demographic, no African-American child is murdered in the womb without the consent of his or her mother. That child’s mother still chose to walk into that clinic, and the rabid dogs in there would set upon that woman and her child just as much as if it was a caucasian neighbourhood. Remember that there were Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto who collaborated with the Nazis. Yes, Margaret Sangar was into eugenics and a fundamental rascist.

    The problem on your hands is that the people who seek out abortions are actively collaborating with her, despite the fact that it is their community being targeted. They may feel pressured into walking into that clinic, but to some extent they have chosen to walk in by getting laid in the first place (unless they were raped where there was no consent), and then caving in to fear. We need to teach people the truth and dignity of human sexuality so they don’t by the lies of the pornographic world we live in, and we need sidewalk counsellors and crisis pregnancy centres there to help alleviate the fear if the first line of defence (teaching the truth about sexuality) fails.

  • Pingback: Drive to Ban Sex-Selective Abortion Gaining Momentum | Pelican Project Pro-Life()

  • dennisofraleigh

    This initiative will die in Committee just like every other pro-life driven piece of legislation will, so long as the Abortocratic Party has a chokehold on what moves forward and what doesn’t. Now that Minnesota’s joke on the world Al Franken has made proceedings there just about filabuster-proof look for some great sound-bites from Republicans. That’s about as good as its going to get until at least January 2011 when a new (and hopefully) more Life-friendly legislature gets seated.

    Anyway, why should Ted Kennedy, Barbara Boxer and Chuck Schumer suddenly “get religion” and begin having second thoughts about the sanctity of unborn life? Sex-selection abortions are done under the same color of Federal law mothers use to abort their babies of either gender.
    (And never mind most Americans now consider themselves “pro-life.” In the privacy of their parlors, yes. At the polls? That remains to be seen.)

    And with the new health care “reform” legislation stampeding through the Congress (with some horrible abortion-funding language) those states that have passed laws banning sex-selection abortions (or other laws that reduce abortion) may find their best efforts to curb abortion for naught.

    I hope I’m wrong in my analysis. So far everthing has gone PPFA’s way. I see no indication things will turn around, not until after the next election. Maybe.

  • Ever since the poll came out that more Americans self-identify as pro-life than pro-“choice”, I have believed that the Holy Spirit has been moving the conscience of our nation. Remember that the 2008 Presidential Election was shaping up to be a referendum on abortion, with the ardently pro-life-puts-her-money-where-her-mouth-is Sarah Palin (life for her illegitimate grandchild, life for her disabled son) and the more-or-less-pro-life John McCain standing against the most extreme pro-abortion major party presidential candidate we’ve ever had. Coming out of the Republican National Convention, with the rousing pro-family and down-to-earth speeches of Sarah Palin, it looked like the side of life had a real chance last summer. Then the economy tanked, everyone got scared, and the focus shifted from life issues to the airy and phony promises of our current chief executive.

    We could have had a pro-life President and a pro-life Vice President right now, and, I’d wager, a more sober handling of the economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, we’ve got what we’ve got because we caved in to fear. The Devil’s been busy, I’ll submit. Now the task is to mitigate the damage through advocacy and the 2010 elections.

  • Warren Jewell

    There’s a lifting element of popular thought here, perhaps given voice in a pop song nearly a prayer:

    “Thank heaven / for little girls . . . they grow up in the most delightful ways.”

    What would any man and woman of us be without Mom? Mom, who is once and maybe eternally a ‘little girl’ – most certainly to her Father and ours.

    Do not sisters help moderate and civilize brothers, and the good man find help toward his salvation in the life in marriage and family and society with his wife? And, what of the Grandmas, aunts, cousins, friends, etc., who help us know ‘I am a man’ by their delightfully and plainly assertive ‘I am a woman’?

    And, if blessed Anne had aborted most blessed Mary, Mother of God? . . .

  • SMG 62

    I think we could get support for outlawing sex-selection abortion. Any law that helps people to realize how uncomfortable they are with abortion is a good thing. But I don’t really understand the purpose of an anti-race-selection abortion law. In the first case, the parent(s) have a genetic test done to determine the sex of the baby, and abort it if it is not the desired sex. Such sex-selection tests themselves could be outlawed. In the second, a mother hardly needs to have a test done to determine the race of her child. African-American women aren’t aborting their black babies in the hopes that the next time they get pregnant, the baby won’t be black. They are aborting for other reasons. This bill will not address those reasons. The only thing I can see affecting the rate of abortions among African Americans, at least involving the issues outlined in this article, is to stop allowing new abortion clinics to be opened in African American neighborhoods, until there are a proportionate number of clinics operating in white neighborhoods. Not exactly a goal of the pro-life community, but I don’t really see what the point of an anti-race-selection abortion law could otherwise be.

  • Mary Kochan

    Race selection in abortion happens all the time. Babies are aborted because they are of mixed race where the same woman in the same situation would keep a baby that was not mixed. A lot of times, of course, this is done under severe family pressure.