Yes, Sex-Selective Abortions Really Are a Problem in the US

The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) updated their “Sex Selective Abortion Ban Fact Sheet” on June 19th, 2020 to express their concerns over the then ten states that had passed bills prohibiting abortions based on sex-selection. After examining the facts of sex-selective abortions, they posed their opinion of the bans as “racist and bad for AAPI women’s agency.” NAPAWF claims that the bans “are justified by the false notion that AAPI women terminate pregnancies based on son preference.” People should never assume that someone is sexist, towards the born and unborn, because of their race. However, sex-selective abortions are an issue that should be entirely prevented in the United States of America.

China and India have both suffered greatly as nations who have drastically skewed ratios between males and females. According to Didi Kirsten Tatlow in an article for the New York Times, “There were 33.59 million more men than women in China in 2016, according to figures from the country’s National Bureau of Statistics that were issued last month…” This was predominantly due to the “one child” policy that was only lifted in 2015. According to the Population Research Institute, in a book entitled Sex-Selective Abortion in India: Estimates on The Occurrence of Sex-Selective Abortion in India and Some Possible Solutions to Eliminate the Practice, due to various two-child policy measures and a cultural push to have less children, “India as a whole is projected to fall below replacement fertility by 2025.” This does not build a healthy nation and only further contributes to a “statistically significant male-biased distortion in the sex ratio…” This greatly affects India’s ability to provide a culture based on equality and is an issue that Americans should recognize as a potential threat within the United States.

Although Asian Americans may feel that the United States could target them due to their race and heritage, there is no inherently racist language used in the bills prohibiting sex-selective abortions.

To judge the language of the bills that were passed, here is a list of the now eleven states that prohibit sex-selection abortions in the United States.

Within the list of nine states, Arkansas’ HB 1434 is the only bill that mentions Asian countries. HB 1434 alerts readers that the ratio disparities between males and females have posed unfortunate problems in various countries. In HB 1434, the state of Arkansas asserts their position by saying, “The United States, along with other countries, has petitioned the United Nations General Assembly to declare sex-selection abortion a crime against women; Countries such as India, Great Britain, and China have taken steps to end sex-selection abortions; Women are a vital part of our society and culture and possess the same fundamental human rights as men; The United States prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in various areas including employment, education, athletics, and health insurance; It is undesirable to have a distortion in the sex ratio within a society, particularly when there is a shortage of women; and countries with high rates of male preference have experienced ill effects as a result of having an increasing population of young, unmarried men;” This bill does not call for Asian women to be especially targeted when questioned by abortion providers, but recognizes the fact that countries have been harmed by sex-selective abortions to the extent that they, themselves, are working to fix and eliminate the disparity between the sexes.

Keeping in mind that entire countries are trying to fix the negative effects of sex-selective abortions on their countries, it does not seem to be too much to ask that abortion providers question women in order to reveal the motives behind their abortion. While specifically targeting women based on their Asian ethnicity is never okay, a few questions, developed to prevent issues shown in Asian countries, is not racist. By mandating questions, the United States openly recognizes the issues of inequality within other countries and makes an effort to maintain equality for men and women regardless of their race. Beyond saving the lives of innocent unborn children, questioning the motives for abortion will help protect equality amongst the sexes – an issue that has been continually fought for in the United States for over a century.