‘Sex-selection’ abortion ban gets final OK in Arkansas House
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A proposal to impose fines and prison time on doctors who perform abortions that are based solely on whether the mother wants to have a boy or girl received final passage from the Arkansas House.
The measure was passed Wednesday on a 57-9 vote. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Charlie Collins previously told lawmakers that having this ban as law is the right thing to do.
Under the legislation, a physician performing an abortion would ask the patient if she knows the sex of the child. If she does, the doctor must let her know that it’s illegal to have an abortion based solely on gender. Opponents of the bill argue the “sex-selection” ban is unconstitutional.
Doctors who violate the ban could face up to a year in prison and up to a $2,500 fine under the measure, as well as civil penalties. The woman who receives or attempts to receive an abortion basely solely on the sex of the fetus would not face any criminal charges or civil damages under the bill, which would take effect in 2018.
Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Dakota already ban such abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research center that favors abortion rights.
Jerry Cox, the head of the Arkansas Family Council, which has pushed for the sex-selection ban, said it would offer protection. Cox said people who move to the U.S. from overseas may come from a culture that expresses a preference for boys over girls.
“I think it protects everyone concerned. It especially protects unborn girls,” Cox said. “I think the support for this bill is indicated by the votes for it in the Arkansas Legislature.”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, there is inconclusive evidence that immigrants are getting sex-selective abortions in the U.S.