HomeoldNRLC letter to U.S. House: Vote against the “war on baby girls,”...

NRLC letter to U.S. House: Vote against the “war on baby girls,” vote for the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act

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RE: 30 May House Roll Call on the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) (H.R. 3541)
(Prohibiting Abortion as a Method of Sex Selection)

Dear Member of Congress:

On Wednesday, 30 May 2012, the House of Representatives will consider, under suspension of the rules, a bill to prohibit the use of abortion as a method of sex selection in the United States – the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (H.R. 3541). The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the nationwide federation of state right-to-life organizations, strongly urges you to vote in favor of this important legislation. NRLC reserves the right to include the roll call on H.R. 3541 in the NRLC scorecard of roll calls on key right-to-life issues for the 112th Congress.

The practice of abortion as a means of sex selection represents a significant social issue in numerous Asian countries, including China and India. There are substantiated estimates that 160 million women and girls are absent from the global population due to sex selection, with the figure potentially being even higher. In the Fall 2011 issue of The New Atlantis, political economist Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute observed that “in terms of its sheer toll in human numbers, sex-selective abortion has assumed a scale tantamount to a global war against baby girls.”

A number of academic papers have presented evidence indicating that the practice of sex-selection by abortion is on the rise in the United States, particularly, although not exclusively, within communities of immigrants from Asia. For instance, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut and published in the journal Prenatal Diagnosis in March 2011 concluded that the male-to-female livebirth sex ratio in the United States exceeded the expected biological variation for third-plus births to Chinese, Asian Indians and Koreans, thereby strongly suggesting prenatal sex selection.

Dr. Sunita Puri and three other researchers at the University of California conducted interviews with 65 immigrant Indian women in the United States who had pursued fetal sex selection. The researchers observed that 40% of the women interviewed had terminated prior pregnancies with female fetuses, and that 89% of women carrying female fetuses in their current pregnancy pursued an abortion. This comprehensive study provides a detailed analysis of the various forms of pressure and coercion that such women frequently encounter. Forty women (62%) reported verbal abuse from their female in-laws or husbands. . . . One-third of the women interviewed reported past physical abuse and neglect related specifically to their inability to produce a male child. Consequently, women reported having multiple pregnancies with terminations of female fetuses under pressure to have a male child. (“There is such a thing as too many daughters, but not too many sons,” Social Science & Medicine 72 (2011), 1169-1176)

The practice in question has been the subject of a public hearing conducted by the House Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee on 6 December 2011. This hearing explored a number of other indications that the practice is increasing in the United States. It is anticipated that the evidence will be presented in the official report of the Judiciary Committee on the bill, which is understood to be scheduled for release today.

Section 3 of H.R. 3541 would amend Title 18 of the U.S. Code to make it an offence, punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment, to knowingly do any one of the following four things: (1) perform an abortion “knowing that such abortion is sought based on the sex or gender of the child”; (2) use “force or threat of force . The aforementioned offences include the following: (1) performing a sex-selection abortion with the intention of coercing the woman to have the procedure; (2) soliciting or accepting funds to perform a sex-selection abortion; (3) transporting a woman into the United States or across state lines for the purpose of having a sex-selection abortion; and (4) soliciting or accepting funds to perform a sex-selection abortion. The bill explicitly states that a woman who undergoes a sex-selection abortion shall not be prosecuted or held civilly liable for any violation of this section, or for a conspiracy to violate this section. The bill also explicitly states that healthcare providers are not obliged to inquire as to the motivation for the abortion, unless they have knowledge or information that the abortion is being sought based on the sex or gender of the child.

It should be noted that the original parallel provisions dealing with abortions that are solicited, coerced, or performed on the basis of the race of the unborn child, as set out in H.R. 3541, have been removed. The impact of the abortion industry on minority communities, an important issue in its own right, has been set aside for another day. The bill now addresses solely the issue of sex-selection abortions.

It is to be expected that those who are pro-life will support this legislation. It is to be hoped that even those Members who consider themselves to be “pro-choice” will recoil at the notion that “freedom of choice” must include the choice to abort a female foetus, regardless of the circumstances. Those who have recently embraced contrived political rhetoric asserting that they are resisting a “war on women” must reflect on whether they wish to be recorded as defenders of the escalating war on baby girls.

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) requests that you support the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act and reserves the right to include the roll call on passage in the NRLC scorecard of key right-to-life roll calls of the 112th Congress. A vote of “present” has the same effect on a Member’s score as a vote of “no.”



Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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