Sex Selection Abortions Are Rife in the U.S.

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An abandoned newborn baby in an incubator after he was rescued from a sewage pipe at a hospital in Jinhua, China in May 2013. A new report published by a "pro-life" group suggests that prenatal sex discrimination through selective abortion “occurs globally” and is also a problem “here in the United States.” China Daily/Reuters

This article first appeared on The Daily Signal.

In advance of a House hearing on April 14 on a measure that would ban abortions based on gender, a “pro-life” group published new research, provided exclusively to the Daily Signal, that suggests that prenatal sex discrimination “occurs globally” and is a problem, “including here in the United States.”

“As Anna Higgins eloquently demonstrates in this latest paper, sex-selection abortion is a global problem, including here in the United States,” David Prentice, director of research at Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement to the Daily Signal. “Legislators who abhor discrimination should move swiftly to enact laws that prohibit the lethal discrimination that is sex-selection abortion.”

Sex-selection abortion refers to a situation where a person chooses to abort an unborn child based solely on that child’s sex. According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, “prenatal discrimination can also be practiced pre-implantation by destroying embryos based on a per-implantation sex determination.”

On Thursday, the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice will hold a hearing to debate the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, which would prohibit abortion based on sex. According to the bill’s counterpart in the Senate, the legislation imposes criminal penalties on anyone “who knowingly” performs “or knowingly attempts” to perform an abortion knowing the procedure is sought based on the sex of the preborn child.

Anna Higgins, an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, will testify for the Republican majority at Thursday’s hearing. During the hearing, Higgins will reference the new Lozier Institute study, which argues that sex-selection abortion is the “real war on women.”  

Some key highlights of that study include:

  • Aside from the well-known case in which China’s male population outnumbers females by about 33 million with a skewed sex ratio at birth of 115.88 in 2014, sex-selective abortion is prevalent across cultures and nations.

  • One major study that analyzed U.S. census data from 2000 found that third births in families of foreign-born Chinese, Indians and Koreans in the U.S. who already had two daughters displayed a ratio of 151 boys to 100 girls—an extreme male-biased ratio.

  • Within the last 20 years, the sex ratio at birth of Asian-Pacific populations in the U.S. and U.K. has climbed sharply, resulting in highly unbalanced ratios in favor of males. Such a noticeable change in recent decades implicates the increased use of sex-selective abortion.

  • Alarmingly disparate sex ratios at birth also exist in Europe—particularly in the Caucasus.

The bill, sponsored by Representative Trent Franks, chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, previously failed in the House. Also testifying on April 14 are Catherine Davis, founding member of the National Black Pro-Life Coalition, the Reverend Derek McCoy, president of the Maryland Family Alliance and Maryland Family Council, and Miriam Yeung, executive director for the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.

Kelsey Harkness is a news producer at the Daily Signal.