Full House plans to vote on the measure Tuesday
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
May 2, 2013
RALEIGH — North Carolina could soon become one of a small but growing number of states seeking to protect people from gender-discrimination even before they’re born. The House is set to take up H 716 “Clarify Law/ Prohibit Sex Selective Abortion” Monday night, following Wednesday’s favorable recommendation from the Judiciary A Subcommittee.
“One thing that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of differences of opinion on is whether or not abortion should be done for the primary purpose of selecting the sex of the child,” Rep. Ruth Samuelson (R-Mecklenburg) told the committee as she introduced the bill, which would fine a doctor at least $10,000 for performing or trying to perform an abortion “with knowledge or an objective reason to know” that the child’s gender is a significant factor in the pregnant woman’s seeking the abortion. Fines for subsequent sex-selection abortions would rise first to $50,000 and then $100,000, and abortionists performing them would be subject to civil suits.
“We’ve done bills that show that we believe that there is sex discrimination in education and that there is sex discrimination in employment,” she added. “… Why wouldn’t there be sex discrimination in abortion?”
She assured fellow lawmakers that the measure would “keep abortion legal, it will keep abortion safe, it will just no longer be discriminatory.”
Nonetheless, the bill met with resistance from N.C. Women United, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, the American Civil Liberties Union, and some abortion-performing doctors who addressed the committee.
Milan Pham with the NAPAWF said the measure, which she described as a dagger “inserted between our ribs” would discriminate against Asian American women, who might be questioned more closely by their doctors if they are immigrants from countries where gendercide is more prevalent. Similarly, Jina Dhillon with NCWU, told the committee the bill perpetuates stereotypes about Asian women.
Opponents also insisted the bill would interfere in the doctor/patient relationship and force doctors to become investigators and their patients, suspects.
But Samuelson, the mother of a child adopted from, as she said, “a country where women were not favored,” assured detractors that the bill in no way targets immigrants. And Rep. Dean Arp (R-Union) pointed out that nowhere does the measure reference male or female preference.
“In either case, it is simply wrong,” he said of sex-selection abortion. “If the significant factor is for sex selection of that child, it’s wrong if it occurs one time.”
Tami Fitzgerald with the North Carolina Values Coalition told the committee that “there is nothing pro-woman about killing a baby girl simply because she is female and putting her mother’s health at risk in the process.”
North Carolina Right to Life’s Barbara Holt said five states have already outlawed sex-selection abortion and that at least five more are entertaining similar legislation. She said a recent poll showed that only 11 percent of those questioned thought that it should be legal to abort a child simply because it was not the preferred gender.
Rep. Deborah Ross (D-Wake) floated two amendments that would have narrowed the bill’s scope, one that would have prevented an abortion only if sex selection was the “sole” factor in the woman’s decision. The amendments failed.
“We don’t believe that there are a huge number of abortions being performed in North Carolina simply based on gender bias,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “But we agree with Rep. Arp, if it happens once that’s one time too many.”
He said there is no doubt that gendercide, specifically that targeting girls, is a growing trend in the world, and there is already viable video evidence from a Live Action undercover probe that shows Planned Parenthood workers affirming a Chapel Hill clinic’s willingness to perform sex-selection abortions.
“Why not go ahead and address this now so that the word gets out that sex-selection abortion is not allowed here in North Carolina?” Dr. Creech said. “The sooner, the better.”