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Prenatal discrimination based on gender typically targets girls
Sex-selection abortion is used to prevent the birth of a child of an undesired sex: abortion is chosen solely on the basis of the unborn baby's gender. The victims of these abortions are overwhelmingly female. A new blood test at seven weeks into a pregnancy is said to reliably determine whether the child is a girl, making early abortions for sex selection possible.
Sex-selection abortion was once thought confined to certain parts of Asia. But it has spread to other continents and is now practiced here in the United States and even in Minnesota.
No nation committed to women's equality and human dignity can tolerate this shocking, discriminatory disregard for its own children.
Technology provides means
Modern technology, particularly the ultrasound, allows parents to discover the sex of their children long before birth. The use of this information in deciding on abortion is prevalent in some Asian nations, especially China and India, where male children are widely preferred over females.
Other methods of determining a baby's gender are also being developed. One company offers women a money-back guarantee that they will correctly identify the gender of their baby with just a drop of blood sent through the mail. As early as 7 weeks post-conception the blood sample can be taken, allowing women to know the gender long before anyone else could even guess they were pregnant.
Bias provides motive
Several cultures across the globe have a preference for boys. This preference is based on long-standing traditions and economic realities in those societies.
"Unfortunately with technology, parents are able to use sonograms to determine the sex of a baby, and to abort girl children simply because they'd rather have a boy." — Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State and defender of abortion on demand
China's rampant sex-selection feticide—further encouraged by a strict family size policy—has produced a stunning gender imbalance in Chinese society. Researchers say there are now 36 million more Chinese boys than girls under 20 years of age.
"Sex-specific abortions are extremely commonplace, especially in rural areas," reported the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in January 2010. "The phenomenon of abortions of female fetuses is very serious."
Sex selection now in U.S.
A June 2009 New York Times story cited several studies showing that Americans of Chinese, Indian and Korean descent retain a preference for sons and sometimes choose abortion because of it.
"In those families, if the first child was a girl, it was more likely that a second child would be a boy. If the first two children were girls, it was even more likely that a third child would be male," reported the Times.
"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, like in vitro fertilization and sperm sorting, or abortion."
Americans oppose sex-selection abortion
It is clearly wrong to kill unborn children simply because they are girls. A 2006 Zogby International poll showed that 86 percent of Americans support a ban on sex-selection abortion. The practice has already been banned in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma.
Minnesota should be next. Sex-selection abortion is morally and culturally devastating, and it has no place in our state.
Taking the life of an unborn child simply because of her gender is an appalling form of discrimination. No nation committed to women's equality and human dignity should tolerate such shocking disregard for its own children.
MCCL has produced a brochure on sex-selection abortion (pictured above) which can be downloaded or ordered.
FURTHER READING: The Witherspoon Institute's Public Discourse
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