Maggie Gallagher

As I type, the House of Representatives is debating the future of civil rights: a girl's right to life itself.

Is it OK to choose to destroy a healthy unborn child simply because you or your husband prefer a boy?

Should it be legal in this country?

The Constitution gives to Congress the power to enforce the 14th Amendment's guarantees of equal protection by appropriate legislation. And this week, in a historic vote, the House is going to consider using that power to ban abortions based on gender.

The bill is called the "Prenatal Anti-Discrimination Act," or PRENDA, because it is being brought up under special rules. It will require two-thirds support in Congress -- a large bipartisan majority -- to pass.

The prospect is sending the hard left, which dominates the Democratic Party, into conniption fits.

Unborn babies are being targeted by their own parents for destruction simply because they are the "wrong" gender. The existence of sex selection abortion in this country is not seriously debatable. First, there is abundant personal testimony in South Asian immigrant women who feel pressured to produce boys and relay these concerns to doctors and researchers.

Sunita Puri and colleagues interviewed 65 South Asian immigrant women on the West and East coasts who had pursued fetal sex selection: 40 percent of them admitted they had aborted a prior fetus for being the wrong gender; 89 percent of the women who were carrying a female child in their current pregnancy aborted her.

Puri wrote: "The major themes that arose during interviews included the sociocultural roots of son preference, women's early socialization around the importance of sons, the different forms of pressure to have sons that women experienced from female in-laws and husbands, the spectrum of verbal and physical abuse that women faced when they did not have male children and/or when they found out they were carrying a female fetus, and the ambivalence with which women regarded their own experience of reproductive 'choice.'"

Jason Abrevaya's 2009 peer-reviewed study "Are There Missing Girls in the United States?" in the American Economic Journal concluded, "The observed boy-birth percentages are consistent with over 2,000 'missing' Chinese and Indian girls in the United States between 1991 and 2004."

Killing a baby because it's the wrong sex is not only wrong, it ought to be illegal. There is no more serious form of gender discrimination than that.

When the immoral act of choosing to deprive a child of life because it's the wrong sex is not illegal, it becomes normalized.

Lila Rose's Live Action released a video showing a Planned Parenthood clinic counselor advising a woman on how to get a sex-selection abortion, warning her that if she tells the doctor that's her reason for wanting an ultrasound, he or she may not cooperate. Planned Parenthood fired the woman for not following protocols.

Planned Parenthood, though, inadvertently testified to the effectiveness of laws banning sex selection abortion, telling The Huffington Post that while it condemns abortions based on gender, its policy is to provide "high-quality, confidential, nonjudgmental care to all who come into" its clinics.

HuffPo reports: "That means that no Planned Parenthood clinic will deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one, except in those states that explicitly prohibit sex-selective abortions (Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Illinois)."

What good are laws against sex-selection abortion?

Will banning sex-selection abortion eliminate them? Probably not. But at least they will not be able to be pursued openly, as if it were a normal, decent thing to do. Gendercide will become an unmentionable act, and the law will affirm the equal dignity of both male and female in our society.

It's a great advance.

And even more importantly, when PRENDA is challenged in court, as the left's lawyers are sure to do, the Supreme Court will face a new argument: that the 14th Amendment gives to Congress the power to regulate abortions as part of its power to ensure the equal protection of all people in the United States, male and female, black and white, born and unborn.


Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.