Where Do We Draw the Line on Abortion?

 

shutterstock_62751394A few weeks ago, the California Legislature voted down the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, basically a ban on sex-selective abortion, on party lines. Because the California legislature has a Democratic supermajority, this bill didn’t have a prayer.

This bill was similar to the one introduced in Congress by Trent Franks back in 2011 (which won a majority in the House — that vote was pretty much down party lines as well)

If pro-life and pro-choice folks can find common ground on anything it should be not allowing abortions where the child’s gender (usually because it’s a girl) is the sole reason for seeking an abortion. Obviously, the feminists don’t want to touch this one.

Back in 2006, Zogby did a poll that found that 86% of respondents opposed sex-selective abortions and said they should be illegal, while only 10 percent said they should be permitted. This is a line that the American people seem willing to draw. Some states already have sex-selective abortion bans in place, but it seems that democrats in California and those in the House of Representatives don’t support this reasonable restriction.

Democrats in California blamed racism for their opposition to the bill, because some cultures are more likely than others to engage in this practice (although the ban was universal and did not mention any particular race or culture). They also argued that there were privacy concerns, with the danger that government would get between the doctor/ patient relationship. This from the people who don’t mind when doctors ask if you own a gun or not.

This may be the one area where the California Legislature wants the people have total freedom. You can’t build anything without 400 permits, and endless environmental impact assessments. You can’t smoke a cigarette except in a secluded bunker with a ventilation system that sends the smoke into space. But abortion? Go to town. 

Personally, I think that this issue should be used against Democrats in debates. The American people can get behind this and we have Democrats on record voting against a sex- selection abortion ban, Make them defend this, especially since the main target for sex selection abortions are girls.

What do you think?

There are 54 comments.

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  1. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    If you’re okay with abortion, why would you object to sex-selective abortions? If the fetus is not a human being it camnot be discriminated against. Permitting abortions except those which are sex-selected is illogical.

    • #1
  2. Matede Inactive
    Matede
    @MateDe

    The hard core activists would say that but most regular people if you talk to them you can find common ground on this particular issue. I think politically this can be a winner in a debate.

    • #2
  3. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    My biggest problem is that I don’t see how this could be enforced.  Wouldn’t people who wanted an abortion under these circumstances simply cite any other reason?

    • #3
  4. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Tom Meyer:

    My biggest problem is that I don’t see how this could be enforced. Wouldn’t people who wanted an abortion under these circumstances simply cite any other reason?

     India has laws against it. They are virtually impossible to enforce.

    • #4
  5. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Matede:

    The hard core activists would say that but most regular people if you talk to them you can find common ground on this particular issue. I think politically this can be a winner in a debate.

    What is the point of winning this fight? It won’t reduce the number of abortions performed. I would think the pro-life movement would be better off having the issue of sex-selective abortions in its rhetorical arsenal to use against abortion generally.

    • #5
  6. Matede Inactive
    Matede
    @MateDe

    But why not pass it. Legislatures pass all sorts of laws that are difficult to enforce. There is a tourist industry popping up in California for women who can’t abortions in their countries but can in California, this could help stop that practice. Also it does draw a line. The pro life movement has been about incrementalism and this could be one step of many

    • #6
  7. 1967mustangman Inactive
    1967mustangman
    @1967mustangman

    Salvatore Padula:

    If you’re okay with abortion, why would you object to sex-selective abortions? If the fetus is not a human being it camnot be discriminated against. Permitting abortions except those which are sex-selected is illogical.

     Because it is the girls that in large part get aborted. You could make an argument that banning sex selective abortion is a feminist act.  Even in the US where you think this would not be the case studies have proven that a family with only one girls is more likely to have more children than families with only one boy, and the percentages get much higher as you have more girls.  I can’t find the study to back it up (I first saw it about a decade ago), but the numbers were pretty shocking.  

    • #7
  8. user_385039 Inactive
    user_385039
    @donaldtodd

    There is reason that the Democrat Party is called the Party of Death, and they are consistent in acting on this particular principle.

    • #8
  9. thelonious Member
    thelonious
    @thelonious

    I don’t see any difference to having an abortion due to not like the sex of the baby/fetus/future life/bunch of cells/whatever you want to call it or having an abortion because it’s too much of a burden.  Is one “choice” of why one has an abortion superior to the other?

    • #9
  10. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    Matede:

    But why not pass it? Legislatures pass all sorts of laws that are difficult to enforce.

    Because — by begin completely unenforceable — it makes the law ineffectual and contemptible.

    Matede: There is a tourist industry popping up in California for women who can’t abortions in their countries but can in California, this could help stop that practice.

    Again, what would prevent such a person from lying about their reason for wanting an abortion?  Under this legislation — so far as I understand it — citing any other reason is sufficient to get yourself off the hook.

    The only thing this will accomplish is to encourage them to lie about their reasons for getting an abortion.  As Sal said, pro-lifers will almost certainly benefit far more from letting people be explicit about their reasons for traveling halfway around the world to have an abortion.

    Heck, you should encourage them to cite their sexist reasons: they’ll look worse for it.

    • #10
  11. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark
    @CharlesMark

    Follow it through and you end up with significant gender imbalance: much more of a threat to societies than climate change.

    • #11
  12. Matede Inactive
    Matede
    @MateDe

    Salvatore Padula:

    Matede:

    The hard core activists would say that but most regular people if you talk to them you can find common ground on this particular issue. I think politically this can be a winner in a debate.

    What is the point of winning this fight? It won’t reduce the number of abortions performed. I would think the pro-life movement would be better off having the issue of sex-selective abortions in its rhetorical arsenal to use against abortion generally.

     I don’t see how making sex selection abortion illegal won’t reduce the number of abortions  performed, especially if a woman is going to be traveling from another country. But laws are also a reflection on what society won’t tolerate, the fact that abortion is legal itself is abhorrent to me but I realize many people have been mislead on this issue. I think a ban on sex selection abortion ban like the partial birth abortion ban can be incremental steps to limiting abortions and shining a light on abortion practices. Will it fix everything? No, far from it but you can eat a bear one bite at a time

    • #12
  13. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    The day prenatal diagnosis of Homosexuality becomes possible is the day women will no longer have an absolute right to determine the outcome of their pregnancy.

    • #13
  14. virgil15marlow@yahoo.com Member
    virgil15marlow@yahoo.com
    @Manny

    I’m against all abortions.  That said, the rationale for banning sex selective abortions is because it would skew the natural demographics of male/female ratio, and that would have social consequences.  All negative consequences as I can see.  Can it be enforced?  Not a 100% but thatt’s not an excuse.  Very few laws are a 100% enforcable.  If we were able to cut it in half it would help.  And the law establishes a moral line that this is wrong, which I would think it would preclude people from even thinking about it.  Yes, I think such a law would make a difference.

    • #14
  15. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    If memory serves, in India they tried to prevent this practice by issuing a ban on ultrasound, though it just led to a black market in ultrasound.  I think it is a little odd to vote for a ban on sex-selective abortion when you oppose all abortion, as if you only oppose that one type.  I understand that this is a way to prevent some abortions at least, but it’s still odd. Tom is right, though, that such a law is virtually unenforceable under the current abortion regime.  Women will just give some other reason.  Still,  I do think their vote  can be used against Dems to show how barbarian abortion is and how inconsistent they are in championing the good of girls and women.  Their refusal to condemn Muslim “honor killings” is another instance of this barbaric inconsistency.  It could somehow be worked into a here’s-the-real-war-against-women theme.

    • #15
  16. Matede Inactive
    Matede
    @MateDe

    Merina Smith 

    I think it is a little odd to vote for a ban on sex-selective abortion when you oppose all abortion, as if you only oppose that one type. 

    I’ve heard this before from some folks, that say “you pass this law…. and then the baby dies. Pass that law…. then the baby dies” and I understand that.
    Personally, I am against all abortions, but it was a long road of unlearning a lot of the misinformation that I was told regarding this and basically never really thinking about what an abortion truly was. 

    At this point in our society trying to ban all abortions would be impossible, so we have to take steps like this to bring our pro-choice compadres closer to the pro- life position. Also hopefully as these types of laws pass it will help reduce the amount of abortions done each year.
    Its not perfect but it does highlight what an abortion is and forces people to think about it Plus pro-life politicians can use common ground measures like this one to inform people about the consequenses of the pro-choice position.

    • #16
  17. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    Manny: Can it be enforced?  Not a 100% but thatt’s not an excuse.  Very few laws are a 100% enforcable.

    Right, but this particular proposal is about 0% enforceable, as the only way of confirming the crime is by asking the mother/parents to confess.  While I’m sure a handful of people will get caught, the overwhelming majority will learn very quickly that all you need to do is tell a small lie that — absent mind reading — is utterly impossible to catch.

    Abortionist: So, ma’am I understand you want an abortion.

    Woman: Yes, doctor.

    Abortionist: Now would that be for the sole illegal reason, or for any other reason under the sun?

    Woman: Ummmm….

    • #17
  18. Matede Inactive
    Matede
    @MateDe

    If an abortion doctor knows they be procecuted if the reason for the abortion is due to gender they may not perform the abortion.
    However, sex selection abortions might not be as difficult to decifer as you would think. Below is a link of a study done on sex selection abortions in the United States, they found that boy preference is found especially for second and third children.
    So a medical professional can deduce that if a woman is pregnant with her second or third child and that woman has had 1 or 2 girls ahead of the child she is pregnant with and there are no other indicators that this is anything other than a healthy baby and female. A doctor can conclude that the reason for the abortion would be for gender reasons.

    Obviously there are problems with that as well, but not so difficult for a medical professional to know the reason and make an informed decision whether to perform the procedure or not

    http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.1.2.1

    • #18
  19. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    Well, the issue has rhetorical value, because a sex-selective abortion means the fetus is already identifiable by sex.  

    It would also undermine the pro-abortion attitude that abortion should be allowed because it’s a last resort. There are cases where it might be, but those are a fraction. Instead, the vast majority of abortions are performed on women who are perfectly healthy, the baby is perfectly normal, but the pregnancy is inconvenient.

    • #19
  20. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Matede: If an abortion doctor knows they be procecuted if the reason for the abortion is due to gender they may not perform the abortion. However, sex selection abortions might not be as difficult to decifer as you would think. Below is a link of a study done on sex selection abortions in the United States, they found that boy preference is found especially for second and third children. So a medical professional can deduce that if a woman is pregnant with her second or third child and that woman has had 1 or 2 girls ahead of the child she is pregnant with and there are no other indicators that this is anything other than a healthy baby and female. A doctor can conclude that the reason for the abortion would be for gender reasons.

     The doctor is highly unlikely to be prosecuted. That isn’t anywhere near the level of proof you would need to convict someone. I’m sure you would have a few doctors who would refuse to perform abortions in cases they thought were motivated by a desire for sex selection, but it wouldn’t prevent anyone from going elsewhere.

    • #20
  21. Matede Inactive
    Matede
    @MateDe

    Salvatore Padula:

    The doctor is highly unlikely to be prosecuted. That isn’t anywhere near the level of proof you would need to convict someone. I’m sure you would have a few doctors who would refuse to perform abortions in cases they thought were motivated by a desire for sex selection, but it wouldn’t prevent anyone from going elsewhere.

     Perhaps, but it may prevent some abortions from happening, save some lives. In Jennifer’s post she said the only reason she wasn’t aborted was because it was illegal in California and her mother was too far along in Mexico. Laws can prevent abortions from happeneing, especially if a women is travelling from another country to have it done.  I don’t think its a useless measure to try to get passed.

    • #21
  22. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Matede: I think a ban on sex selection abortion ban like the partial birth abortion ban can be incremental steps to limiting abortions and shining a light on abortion practices. Will it fix everything? No, far from it but you can eat a bear one bite at a time

    I think there is in important distinction between banning partial birth abortion and banning sex-selective abortion.  Banning partial birth abortion actually will reduce the number of abortions performed and prevent the most brutal form of abortion from being conducted. It is fairly easy to enforce.

    In contrast, banning sex-selective abortions is mainly a gesture. It is unenforceable and will not reduce the number of abortions performed. Unenforceable laws should not be enacted. They reduce respect for the rule of law. 

    There is another major problem with banning sex-selective abortion. It creates what is  essentially  a thoughtcrime. It doesn’t criminalize conduct; it criminalizes the motivation for conduct which is generally considered legal. This is a horrible precedent for our criminal law.

    • #22
  23. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    Salvatore Padula: I think there is in important distinction between banning partial birth abortion and banning sex-selective abortion.  Banning partial birth abortion actually will reduce the number of abortions performed and prevent the most brutal form of abortion from being conducted. It is fairly easy to enforce. In contrast, banning sex-selective abortions is mainly a gesture. It is unenforceable and will not reduce the number of abortions performed. Unenforceable laws should not be enacted. They reduce respect for the rule of law.  There is another major problem with banning sex-selective abortion. It creates what is  essentially  a thoughtcrime. It doesn’t criminalize conduct; it criminalizes the motivation for conduct which is generally considered legal. This is a horrible precedent for our criminal law.

     Emphatically seconding all these points.

    • #23
  24. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Matede: Perhaps, but it may prevent some abortions from happening, save some lives. In Jennifer’s post she said the only reason she wasn’t aborted was because it was illegal in California and her mother was too far along in Mexico. Laws can prevent abortions from happeneing, especially if a women is travelling from another country to have it done. I don’t think its a useless measure to try to get passed.

     Right, but there is a significant difference between late term and sex-selective abortions. It is very easy to establish how far along a pregnancy is and to prove that in court. Prosecuting illegal late term abortions is pretty easy. Absent someone being so stupid as to flatly admit that it was her motivation, it would be virtually impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an abortion was for the purpose of sex-selection.

    As far as abortion tourism goes, I just don’t see this as reducing the numbers. If you’re willing to fly to the U.S. to get an abortion, you aren’t likely to be deterred by being turned down by one doctor. You’ll find another.

    • #24
  25. virgil15marlow@yahoo.com Member
    virgil15marlow@yahoo.com
    @Manny

    Tom Meyer:

    Manny: Can it be enforced? Not a 100% but thatt’s not an excuse. Very few laws are a 100% enforcable.

    Right, but this particular proposal is about 0% enforceable, as the only way of confirming the crime is by asking the mother/parents to confess. While I’m sure a handful of people will get caught, the overwhelming majority will learn very quickly that all you need to do is tell a small lie that — absent mind reading — is utterly impossible to catch.

    Abortionist: So, ma’am I understand you want an abortion.

    Woman: Yes, doctor.

    Abortionist: Now would that be for the sole illegal reason, or for any other reason under the sun?

    Woman: Ummmm….

     Sadly you might be right.  Still a moral line must be drawn, and the threat of prosecution might inhibit some, especially doctors.  If a moral line is drawn, then some doctors will take themselves out of it based on their conscience.  If it is openly legal, then the thought crosses the minds of many more and should reduce the people who do it.  I see no benefit of it being legal and some, perhaps minimal, of it being illegal.

    • #25
  26. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    I’m willing to accept whatever line is drawn by the legislature of the jurisdiction in which I live.

    I simply don’t want the line drawn by unelected judges.

    • #26
  27. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Matede,

    As a proponent of a nearly 100% ban on all abortions, I’m going to dissent from your view here.  

    First, saying we should pass this ban because, well, maybe it might save a baby’s life is no different than passing a gun control law because, well, maybe it might stop someone from getting shot.  If you are going to make a law against something, it is only natural that you do two things:

    • Show how that something is bad.  We can agree that sex selective abortion is bad, because we both agree that abortion for any reason is bad.  And we can get, as you suggest, 80+% of voters to agree as well.
    • Show that the law will actually stop that bad thing.  It is clear to me that we cannot show that in this case the law will stop that bad thing from happening.  The law might dissuade some people from having an abortion based on the sex of the baby.  But lets face it:  if you think its ok to kill your child because it is not the right sex, what are the chances you care too much what the law says on the subject?
    • #27
  28. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Manny: Still a moral line must be drawn

     But what is the rationale for drawing the moral line here?  This isn’t like late-term abortion, where you can make the moral case that even if you don’t accept that a fetus is a human being from the moment of conception it pretty clearly is if it could survive outside the womb. Banning sex-selective abortion is essentially taking the position that the actual abortion would be okay were it not for the motivation behind it.

    Banning sex-selective abortions is even less morally coherent than are hate crimes laws. At least in the case of hate crime laws the underlying act is considered to be wrong regardless of the motivation. Banning sex-selective abortion sends the message that the life of an unborn child is less important than condemning sexism.

    • #28
  29. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Not all restrictions on abortion are incremental steps toward a larger goal. As a practical matter banning sex-selective abortions is a bit like banning abortions on Tuesdays. Women who want sex-selective abortions will simply state another, permissible, reason (or none at all); just like women who cannot get an abortion on Tuesday will simply have it performed on another day.

    • #29
  30. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Further, this is fundamentally different than ban on partial birth abortion for one specific reason:  I cannot lie about a partial birth abortion.  If I’m 25 weeks pregnant, I can’t tell the doc I’m not. It is not unlike employment laws in my state.  The law says I can’t fire a person for reasons X, Y, and Z.  In practice, I can fire a person for any reason I want.  I just can’t say why I’m firing a person.  So, in practice, we just say “it’s a business decision” and move on.  

    Also, the real reason Democrats oppose the bill is because they understand incrementalism.  They probably say behind closed doors “Today it’s this, tomorrow its something else, and before you know it, all abortion is outlawed.”  And they’d be right.  Pro-life people are, by and large, in agreement on the subject.  Nearly all abortions should be made illegal.

    • #30

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