The abortion of infants for gender selection purposes would have been outlawed in the United States under legislation voted on today in the U.S. House of Representatives with the support of Republican Conference Secretary John Carter (TX-31).
The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, H.R. 3541 won majority support by a 246-168 margin, but failed to pass due to the lack of a two-thirds majority required under special House Suspension calendar rules. The legislation can be brought back to the floor in the future under regular House rules with a simple majority requirement. The vote was largely split along party lines. 20 Democrats voted for the measure while 7 Republicans voted against it. The Obama Administration officially opposed the protections.
"The use of abortion for sex selection has created a 21st Century holocaust for unborn girls," says Carter. "The world remains aghast at the more than 6 million human beings murdered in Nazi extermination camps during World War II, yet there have been an estimated 160 million baby girls exterminated through sex-selection abortions worldwide, with a growing number now occurring in our country," says Carter. "This is not a war on women; it is international genocide against women."
Abortion for sex selection is a major social problem in a number of Asian countries. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing reports that there are now 120 males for every 100 females in that country, as a result of China's long history of female infanticide in response to the Communist regime's one-child-per-family policy and forced abortions.
According to research by the University of Connecticut published in the journal Prenatal Diagnosis in 2011, the problem is now growing in the United States primarily within Chinese, Asian Indian, and Korean immigrant communities.
The bill would make knowledgeable participation in an abortion for sex selection purposes a criminal offense punishable by up to five years in prison. The measure specifically prohibits performing a sex-selection abortion; use of force or threat of force for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection abortion; soliciting or accepting funds to perform a sex-selection abortion; or transporting a woman into the U.S. or across state lines for a sex-selection abortion. A woman upon whom a sex-selection abortion is performed may not be prosecuted or held civilly liable under the bill.
The United States remains one of the few industrialized nations that do not ban sex-selection abortions, with even China now outlawing the practice. The procedure has been condemned by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and the President's Council on Bioethics. A Zogby poll of 30,000 individuals nationwide found 86% of Americans support a ban on the practice.