A bill seeking to criminalize “sex-selection abortions” failed to achieve the necessary two-thirds majority in the House this past Thursday.
Named the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, the bill would seek criminal penalties such as jail-terms of up to five years for doctors carrying out abortions for parents that prefer a child of the opposite gender. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), who is the bill’s chief sponsor, defended the measure by saying it would try to overturn the “war on unborn little girls.” He further cited that 200 million abortions completed worldwide are based on sex-selection, a practice that is more usual in countries in Asia and Eastern Europe.
On the other hand, according to the White House, Obama believes the bill violates women’s right to privacy. Those that disapproved of the measure further argue that the bill would be particularly problematic to doctors and could also present an undertone of discrimination, especially for Asian-American women, who are said to often be pressed to give birth to boys.
The endeavor to criminalize sex-selection abortions has gained more ground on the state level. Arizona, Pennslyvania, and Oklahoma have outlawed sex-selection abortions, while eight other states have put forth legislation for the same objective.
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