New CLI Paper: Evidence of Sex-Selection Abortion in the U.S. & Why We Should Fight It

Contact: Mallory Quigley, [email protected], 202-223-8073

Banning Lethal Discrimination is Constitutional

Washington, D.C.  – A new paper by Charlotte Lozier Institute associate scholar Anna Higgins, J.D., examines sex-selection abortion occurring worldwide, including in the U.S., and makes policy recommendations to legislators looking to halt this form of discrimination.

“Despite advances in civil rights and the recognition by most developed nations that discrimination on the basis of sex alone is inherently unjust, a very real and pervasive form of sex discrimination is still permitted and practiced in the world today. Prenatal sex discrimination crosses cultural, ethnic, and national lines. It is practiced in many countries, including the U.S., via sex-selective abortion – choosing to abort a preborn child based solely on the child’s sex,” writes Higgins. 

The paper, Sex-Selection Abortion: The Real War on Women, examines the latest available international data on sex-selection abortion and argues that legislation banning these abortions in the United States is constitutional. 

  • Sex discrimination via sex-selection abortion occurs globally. The problem is well-known in countries like China and India but happens in other nations, including in the U.S.
  • In the last 20 years, the sex ratio at birth of certain sub-populations in the U.S. and U.K. has climbed sharply, resulting in highly unbalanced ratios in favor of males. Such a noticeable change in recent decades implicates the increased use of sex-selective abortion and the failure of abortion providers to uniformly reject abortion on these grounds.
  • Sex discrimination violates a fundamental liberty guaranteed by the Constitution – equal protection under the law.
  • There is reason to think the Supreme Court might uphold a ban on sex-selective abortion.

“Sex-selection abortion has led to ‘gendercide’ – millions of missing girls worldwide. With our national laws among the most permissive on the planet and sex-selection being legal up to birth in the vast majority of states, the U.S. lacks moral authority to oppose this and ultimately end this practice everywhere,” explained Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute. “American lawmakers who value equality ought to take action now, and not wait for the problem to grow.”

Charlotte Lozier Institute is a hub for research and public policy analysis on some of the most pressing issues facing the United States and nations around the world. CLI’s American Reports Series presents analysis of issues affecting the United States at the national level.  These reports are intended to provide insight into various issues concerning life, science, and bioethics.


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