Senator introduces legislation to ban sex-selective abortions

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Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter introduced legislation Wednesday to outlaw abortions sought on the basis of gender.

Vitter’s Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act has 26 co-sponsors and comes on the heels of Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Frank’ attempt to pass similar legislation on the House side. The proposal also coincides with the release of a series of pro-life investigative videos showing abortion providers ready and willing to offer sex-selective abortions.

“It’s flat out morally wrong to assign different values to unborn babies’ lives based on gender, but believe it or not, it happens,” Vitter said in a statement.

The legislation would authorize civil action for fathers and minors’ maternal grandparents to stop or obtain relief for a sex-selective abortion, as well as provide civil relief in the form of monetary damages to women who are forced to have an abortion on the basis of the child’s sex.

The bill would also require medical professionals to report suspicion or knowledge of gender-discrimination in abortions, as well as face a heavy fine and/or up to five years in jail should a doctor knowingly perform a sex-selective abortion.

Vitter’s office notes that a 2009 study in the American Economic Journal found that, over a span of 13 years, at least 2,000 Asian American baby girls aborted in the United States due to gender-based abortions.

Franks’ legislation to ban sex-selective abortions failed on a suspension vote in late May. A majority of House members, though not the two-thirds needed, voted for the bill.

The Hill reported after the House vote that House Speaker John Boehner implied that that House GOP members might try to stop sex-selection abortions again in the future, but offered no specifics.

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