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AUL President and CEO calls on Missouri Legislators to end “a real war on women — sex selection abortions” during testimony in the state

Jefferson City, Missouri (05-02-12) — “There is a real war on women in abortion clinics today where young girls around the world are destroyed by virtue of their sex in much greater numbers,” Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest said Wednesday, testifying in Missouri on House Bill 1933, a measure that would ban abortions for sex selection and genetic abnormalities. “This bill offers girls real protections under the law.”

Dr. Yoest made her comments before the Missouri House Healthcare Policy Committee where she was invited to testify on Wednesday. During her remarks, Dr. Yoest noted:

“Sex-selection abortion is an abortion undertaken for purposes of eliminating an unborn child of an undesired sex—usually female.  It is described by scholars and civil rights advocates as an act of gender-based violence.  Obviously, there are strong public policy reasons for banning such gender-based violence.

First, prohibiting sex-selection abortion affirms a policy of nondiscrimination. Federal and state laws prohibit the dissimilar treatment of males and females who are similarly situated, as well as sex discrimination in various contexts, including the provision of employment, education, housing, health insurance coverage, and even athletics.  Yet, similar protection is not currently afforded to unborn female children in Missouri.

Second, prohibiting sex-selection abortion is necessary to eliminate the drastic effects such abortions have on society. In 2011, author Mara Hvistendahl reported in her book, Unnatural Selection, that 163 million girls are missing in the world because of sex-selection abortions.  The problem is so severe in some countries that, in 2005, the United Nations Population Fund termed the practice “female infanticide.

Third, Americans oppose sex-selection abortion. In a March 2006 Zogby International poll, 86 percent of Americans agreed that sex-selection abortion should be illegal.”

Noting that the bill would also offer protections to mentally handicapped people, Dr. Yoest said: “Like a ban on sex-selection abortion, a ban on abortion performed solely because a child has Down syndrome or a genetic abnormality affirms a policy of nondiscrimination.  State and federal law prohibit discrimination against persons with Down syndrome or genetic abnormalities.  Unfortunately, the same protection is not currently afforded to such persons before they are born.”

To read Dr. Yoest’s entire testimony, click here.