Arizona HB2443, passed out of the State Senate yesterday, makes it illegal to perform an abortion on the basis of the sex and/or race of the fetus. This legislation is designed to erode a woman’s right to choose by using a foot-in-the-door strategy. Here is how it works:

  • Arizona Republicans propose legislation restricting abortion rights in a way that makes opposition politically difficult. A no vote will be spun as “Democratic legislator X voted to allow doctors to kill unborn babies because of their race or gender.” Not that they need the Democratic votes anyway with their majority.
  • With passage, a woman now can be forced to state a reason for having an abortion. Anti-abortion activists can now continuously file criminal charges against abortion providers, with the female patients potentially forced to give a statement to a police officer or attorney regarding the reason for her abortion. If at the time of the abortion the patient was aware of the sex of the fetus, the doctor/patient are even more at risk. If the father of the fetus is of a different race than the mother, the abortion is immediately called into question.

Republicans are claiming that the legislation is to prevent “gendercide,” which they apparently believe is an epidemic in the state: (emphasis mine)

But backers said the practice is occurring in America.

There is evidence to prove it, said Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix.

She pointed to a 2008 study in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America,” in which the authors concluded that, among families from Asia, some sex selection is going on in the United States.

The authors, however, had no proof, only statistics that suggest such abortions have taken place.

The authors had examined 2000 Census data about families that identified themselves as Chinese, Korean or Asian-Indian. While the ratio of boys to girls among first-born children was in line with the average, the study found that when the first child was a girl, the likelihood of the second child’s being a boy increased, and the likelihood increased even more sharply among third children when both the first- and second-born children were girls.

Among second children, it was 17 percent more likely that the parents would have a boy if the first had been a girl, and among third children, 50 percent more likely if the parents had not yet had a boy.

“We interpret the found deviation in favor of sons to be evidence of sex selection, most likely at the prenatal stage,” the study reads.

In other words, if I flipped a coin, and the first result was heads, the second result was more likely to be tails. If I flipped heads twice in a row, it was even more likely to be tails the next toss.

In countries with quotas on children, gendercide and sex selection certainly exist. In the United States we have no such quotas, and the idea that women keep aborting their female fetuses until they get a male one is ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as the other huge non-problem the state faced: animal-human hybrids.

This legislation gives anti-abortion activists legal avenues to harass women and abortion providers and creates a framework for taking away a woman’s right to choose. I can’t come up with any other situation where a legal action becomes illegal solely because of what the person might have been thinking.