The practice of sex-selection abortion, usually targeting a female fetus due to parental preference for a son, has few defenders in the United States. Yet a proposed federal ban is drawing vehement opposition from liberal advocacy groups who call it a veiled attempt to undermine broader abortion rights.
The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act would outlaw abortions done on the basis of gender or race. Women who had such abortions would not be penalized but those who performed them would face up to five years in prison.
At a congressional hearing Tuesday, supporters of the bill said passage would put the United States on record as opposing sex-selection abortions. However, a witness speaking on behalf of an array of women's rights and abortion rights groups assailed the bill as "dangerous and duplicitous."