MANASSAS, Va. (WUSA) - All babies are precious, and many parents don't care if they have a boy or a girl. But in some cultures, the preference for male children has led to sex-selective abortions.
Arizona has recently enacted a law to make them illegal. Now a Virginia lawmaker wants the Commonwealth to do the same.
"Let the feminists walk down to Richmond and say, 'Yes, aborting girls is a good thing. I mean, come on, they're not that stupid. They can't possibly do that," said a heated Bob Marshall, (R-13th District.)
The outspoken Manassas lawmaker has been trying to chip away at abortion rights for 20 years. This year, he is sponsoring a bill to make gender-based abortions illegal. He points to evidence that sex-selective abortions are apparently happening in America.
Using the 2000 U.S. Census report, The National Academy of Sciences found "male-biased sex ratios among U.S.-born children of Chinese, Korean, and Asian Indian parents."
It was particularly evident for third children, the report says. "If there was no previous son, sons outnumbered daughters by 50%. By contrast, the sex ratios of eldest and younger children with an older brother were both within the range of the biologically normal, as were White offspring sex ratios (irrespective of the elder siblings' sex). We interpret the found deviation in favor of sons to be evidence of sex selection, most likely at the prenatal stage."
"We cannot have a society tolerating the frivolous killing of people just because they're of the wrong sex," said Marshall.
Tarina Keene, with the National Abortion Rights League, (NARAL) says even though the organization does not support gender-based abortions, she says this bill is just bad policy.
"It really puts the doctors in a very precarious situation. They have to be mind readers. They're essentially becoming agents of the state. It really violates the doctor-patient relationship. It creates mistrust between doctors and patients," said Keene.
In Marshall's bill, the woman who has a sex-selective abortion would not be prosecuted, but the doctor who performs it could be charged with a Class 4 felony which carries a maximum ten years in jail.
Marshall sees nothing wrong with that level of punishment. "Killing a person for the wrong sex, that's too soft," said Marshall.
"That's not what this bill is about. It is chipping away at a woman's right to chose, It is intimidating doctors," said Keene.
NARAL says the bill is racist because it would cause the profiling of women of certain cultures which are known to have a preference for male babies.
Additional studies on the issue:
Link to the bill:
Written by Peggy Fox