House Votes to Ban Sex-Selective Abortion

May 15, 2015

A bill prohibiting abortions based on the baby's sex was approved by Louisiana's full House Thursday. The bill's author, Houma Rep. Lenar Whitney explained why she brought the bill.

"The practice of sex-selection abortion has made its way from the Asian nations to inside our borders here in the United States," Whitney said.

Whitney said those cultures prefer boys over girls, and this is about protecting mothers and their potential daughters. "In high Asian immigrant populations, many of these women were coerced into abortions and threatened by divorce and violence if they did not bear sons."

With the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum urging lawmakers not to buy into the justification for the bill, New Orleans Rep. Walt Leger admonished Whitney.

"We ought to be extremely cautious the way we talk about people that are alleged to be engaging in this behavior from other countries and from other cultures."

"Choosing to kill baby girls over baby boys is just wrong," Whitney responded.

In addition to the current ultrasound and 24-hour waiting period requirements, the bill says a woman must be told the sex of the fetus -- if it can be determined. The abortion provider can be fined from $10,000 to $100,000 for violating the law.

"Why do we need to inform the mother of the sex of the child"," Leger asked.

"We think that's just an addition to a 'Woman's Right to Know' law," Whitney replied.

The House voted 84-2 to send Whitney's bill to the Senate. Twenty-one representatives did not vote.