Sex-Selective Abortion Bans Highlight Faultlines in the Reproductive Rights Movement

March 21, 2014 • Reproductive Health, United States, News

Sex-Selective Abortion Bans Highlight Faultlines in the Reproductive Rights Movement
by Eesha Pandit, Independent Writer & Activist 

On March 5, the South Dakota house passed a bill that would ban abortions based on the sex of the fetus, otherwise known as “sex-selective” abortions. State Reps. Stace Nelson (R-Fulton) and Don Haggar (R-Sioux Falls) both invoked the changing demographic in South Dakota as their primary motivation for supporting the bill. Haggar noted on the house floor, “Let me tell you, our population in South Dakota is a lot more diverse than it ever was. There are cultures that look at a sex-selection abortion as being culturally OK. And I will suggest to you that we are embracing individuals from some of those cultures in this country, or in this state.”

Sex-selection bans, which have proliferated around the country as of late, are often proposed in the context of race, invoking Asian-American immigrants to a state. If the South Dakota bill passes, the state, which has a history of passing extreme anti-choice legislation, will become the eighth in the country to pass a sex-selective abortion ban. Yet these bills have yet to merit a larger conversation, either within the national reproductive rights and feminist movements or in the news more generally.


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