The so-called “Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act” failed to get the two-thirds majority vote needed to pass in the House of Representatives.
Sponsors of the bill claimed it combatted any abortion sought on the basis of gender, but the measure was clearly an unconstitutional ban on abortion that would have promoted racial profiling and put barriers between women and the reproductive health services that they need.
In a blog for The Hill, Center for Reproductive Rights President Nancy Northup takes a closer look at the real impact of such laws and the true motivations behind them:
Without question, sex-selective abortion is a serious, widespread problem in some parts of the world—particularly China and India, where international human rights organizations have done significant work exploring the problem and working toward genuine solutions. And there is some anecdotal evidence that women in some immigrant populations in the U.S. have felt that same cultural pressure to favor boys.
The overwhelming international consensus that the most effective way to combat this problem is not to criminalize sex-selective abortions, but to strike at the underlying conditions that lead to the prejudice, sex discrimination, and coercion that can face women worldwide.
In India, a law prohibiting the determination of a fetus’s sex before birth utterly failed to produce any meaningful change in sex ratios. In fact, the ratio among children from birth to age six has actually worsened.
In contrast, South Korea’s broad-based effort to address sex discrimination at its roots has produced impressive results to lower a very unbalanced male-female birth ratio. Officials capitalized on economic changes that increase demand for women in the workforce and improve women’s status in society generally by passing a series of laws expanding to expand their rights.
Read the full blog here.