Legislator moves to ban gender-based abortions in US

By Michelle Bauman

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Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.)

Congressman Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) called on his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives to join him in sponsoring a bill that would prohibit abortions based on race or gender.

“Sex-selection abortion is happening in the United States,” said Rep. Franks, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, in a letter to his fellow representatives on Nov. 29.

Although many people do not realize it, he added, minority babies are aborted at five times the rate of white babies.

Rep. Franks is working to introduce the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, which would prohibit both sex-selection abortions and race-selection abortions, as well as “the coercion of a woman to obtain either.”

The act would not prosecute women seeking abortions but hold clinics that perform such abortions accountable.

In his letter asking for support, the congressman pointed to a recent study published in the Journal of the National Academy of the Sciences which shows that certain segments of the U.S. population have “unnaturally skewed sex-ratios at birth”—likely resulting from prenatal sex-selection.

He also voiced concern over recorded tapes of Planned Parenthood workers agreeing to accept money set aside specifically for the abortion of minority babies.

He then cited a poll showing that 86 percent of Americans support a complete ban on sex-selection abortions.

Rep. Franks introduced a similar bill in 2009 and said that he plans to reintroduce the legislation “until it is passed through the Congress.”

When the bill was last introduced, it received bipartisan support and had 49 cosponsors, he said. As of Nov. 30, the bill has gained 20 cosponsors in the current Congress.

A hearing on the bill is scheduled for Dec. 6.

The American Center for Law and Justice has applauded the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, calling it “common-sense legislation” and urging U.S. leaders to “catch up with the international community,” including the United Nations, in supporting a ban on gender-selection abortions.

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