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Published On: Tue, Mar 4th, 2014

South Dakota abortion bill to ban gender-selective abortions fails in hearing, being revised

A proposed ban on gender-selective abortions has stalled in South Dakota as critics now say the bill would promote racial stereotypes and stigmatize Americans of Asian decent.

The bill would make abortions based on the fetus’ gender illegal, and physicians who do so could be charged with a felony. The committee deadlocked 3-3 on the measure Monday, which means the bill’s sponsors can offer amendments when it is taken back up on Wednesday. The House passed the bill on Feb. 19.

A student from the University of South Dakota, Lena Tran, was quoted by the AP story as she says the ban would “result in racial profiling against Asian women in doctors’ offices.

“I personally would not get an abortion,” Tran said to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. “I do not want my friends and neighbors to look at me with suspicion.”

No one at Monday’s hearing endorsed sex-selective abortions, and there are no available statistics to demonstrate that sex-selective abortions have taken place in the state.

“We really have no indication as to whether this is really a problem. Or is this a solution looking for a problem?” asked Sen. Bruce Rampelberg, R-Rapid City. A Fiscal Impact Statement on the bill says, “violations are likely to be rare, and successful prosecutions very rare.”

South Dakota is among a number of states proposing legislation to ban gender-selective abortions.

A similar bill that explicitly references race is currently being challenged in Arizona courts.

photo Chris Darling from Portland via wikimedia

photo Chris Darling from Portland via wikimedia

 

 

 

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