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Congress Votes Down Sex-Selection Bill

Posted: Jun 01, 2012

A Republican-sponsored bill that would have banned sex-selective abortions failed in the House of Representatives Thursday.

The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), authored by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., would have made it a federal offense to perform an abortion on a woman seeking one because of the sex of her fetus. Doctors with knowledge of their patients' intentions who performed the procedure anyway would be subject to civil and criminal penalties, including jail time.

Asian Americans worried that such a move would encourage racial profiling in the United States, given the remarks Franks made on the House floor as he pushed for passage of his bill.

"A number of academic papers have now published evidence that the practice of sex-selection abortion is demonstrably increasing here in the United States, especially, but not exclusively, in the Asian immigrant community," Franks said.

"A study by researchers at the University of Connecticut, which was published in Prenatal Diagnosis, found that the male-to-female live birth sex ratio in the United States for Chinese, Asian Indians, and Koreans clearly exceeded biological variation for third births and beyond,” he said. "Mr. Speaker, deliberate prenatal sex selection is the only plausible explanation."

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