New technology is also helping parents determine the sex of their child at an early stage of pregnancy – giving them more power to abort their child if they prefer the other sex.
One method is a "pre-implantation diagnosis" of the sex of the embryo with in vitro fertilization, Higgins said. Another is prenatal genetic testing as early as 7 to 10 weeks gestation. These tests being sold as a tool to help with "family balancing," she commented, but this "amounts to saying we place value on someone because of their sex."
This technology is currently allowed under U.S. law, which undermines the "moral authority" the U.S. can use to stop sex-selective abortion, advocates say.
"Currently, there is no prohibition on such technology for the purpose of sex selection in the United States," Higgins said. "Such technology can easily be used to discriminate against either sex, which is no less ethically problematic."
"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," Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, said.
Other countries have already started cracking down on the practice. As of 2009, Vietnam, South Korea, Austria, New Zealand, and Switzerland all prohibited sex-selection while 31 countries outlawed its "social" use.
"Although not every country prohibits sex-selective abortion specifically, there is obviously a global awareness that prenatal sex-selection is unethical based on the sheer number of countries that prohibit preimplantation sex-selection techniques," Higgins said of the numbers.
"The United States is, in fact, lagging behind the rest of the world on this front."
Higgins, along with the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, is pushing for the House to pass the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act which would prohibit sex-selective abortions, along with the solicitation of funds for these abortions or any "coercion" of woman to obtain an abortion on basis of sex, which happens in some communities, Higgins said.
Ultimately, the goal is to "inform the public that this is a discriminatory practice and we're not going to stand for it," she said, adding that discrimination is prohibited in employment and public accommodation, and birth should be no exception.
Photo credit: Ida Karolina Rosanda via www.shutterstock.com.
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