Prenda and Live Action Videos Amplify the Conversation About Sex-Selective Abortions in the U.S.
Group continues undercover videotaping, as Congress fails to pass law prohibiting procedure.
BY JUSTIN BELL
| Posted 6/7/12 at 11:00 AM
Meiqian He, a graduate student in Boston, estimates that more than 99% of her classmates in Lanzhou, China, came from families where they were the only child. She remembers the excitement in high school once, when there was a boy with a brother.
“Wow, that’s so amazing, you have [a] brother,” said He. “We just admire this person — just for having another brother.”
The People’s Republic of China and their one-child-per-family policy is a common association that U.S. Americans have with sex-selective abortions, even though, technically, the practice is illegal in that country. In contrast, there is no federal protection against abortions on the basis of gender in the United States.
Last week, the issue of “gendercide” in the U.S. gained more attention, with the release of two undercover videos and the vote on a congressional bill called the “Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act (Prenda),” which sought in part to prosecute those who knowingly performed abortions based on the sex, gender, color or race of a child or the race of that child’s parent(s).
PRENDA, introduced by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., failed to get a 2/3 majority under a congressional provision called “a suspension of rules,” though the bill could be voted on again. For the tally, 226 Republican and 20 Democrat representatives voted for the legislation; seven Republicans and 161 Democrats voted against it.
Live Action Starts New Series
The pro-life organization Live Action recently released three online videos in its new series called “Sex-Selection in America.” The first two videos of a four-part series illustrate the acceptance and sometime aid of Planned Parenthood staffers to women pretending to seek abortions based on gender preference toward boys.
Live Action and its president, Lila Rose, have gained widespread attention for investigative videos that showcase dubious practices of the nation’s largest abortion provider.
In the first video of the new series, taken at a Planned Parenthood facility in Texas, the counselor informs the undercover woman about how to receive Medicaid funding to get an ultrasound to determine the sex of the child. The counselor confirms that the woman should conceal her intentions of possibly aborting the child if it is a girl. If the child is a girl, then Planned Parenthood is ready to provide the abortion.
The counselor also tells the woman that she herself has had two abortions and four children.
“Well, good luck, and I hope that you do get your boy,” the counselor says toward the end of the meeting.
In the second video, an undercover woman tells a Planned Parenthood social worker she believes she is pregnant with a girl, and “it’s not what we’re looking for right now.”
The worker educates her in this process of further gender testing and tells her if she finds out that it is indeed a girl it is the woman’s decision if she prefers to end the pregnancy.
“I can tell you that, you know, here at Planned Parenthood we believe that it’s not up to us to decide what is a good or a bad reason for somebody to decide to terminate a pregnancy,” says the social worker.
In the latest video, released yesterday, two abortion workers in separate National Abortion Federation clinics showcase knowledge of an Arizona state law that prohibits sex-selective abortions. The workers both ultimately assist an undercover woman, despite the woman's motivations of gender selection.
The new Live Action videos appear to feature mainstream Americans, free of any foreign accents. They both pretend to seek sons with a willingness to end the life of a girl.
In an interview with the Register, Lila Rose spoke of a term used by members in the abortion industry called “family balancing,” with one possible goal of one boy and one girl for a family.
“It’s that desire to control, looking at children as commodities, and picking the best one — picking the one that fits best, and then seeing them as disposable,” said Rose.
Reggie Littlejohn, the president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, also acknowledges this trend of “designer babies” and how a woman’s right to choose abortion has been extended to her choice of gender for the unborn.
“Where does that end? Does a woman have the right to choose the height of her child, the eye color of her child, the IQ of her child?” commented Littlejohn.
“I just think that this expansion of the notion of choice is very troubling when used to selectively abort girls,” she said. “I mean, how can any women’s group say that they care about women’s rights when they turn away from the selection of females for abortion?”
Cultural Trends and Limits of Legislation
Littlejohn has wide knowledge of the issue of forced abortions in China and India and said that the idea of “son preference” is carrying over to the United States, with coercive measures applied to women of certain cultural groups to abort their daughters.
Part of the evidence given in the Prenda bill was a 2008 study published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) that found the data of male-based sex ratios taken from the 2000 Census of American children born to Chinese, Korea and Indian parents point toward prenatal sex selection.
Even though Littlejohn was in support of Prenda, she is not certain that legislation would stop the exercise, noting that a woman could keep quiet about her gender-targeted intentions to medical staff, citing other reasons for the planned abortion.
“So having laws in place are an incomplete answer to the issue,” said Littlejohn. “Really, what we need to confront is the cultural pressures that give rise to ‘son preference,’ so that people will not have the decision to selectively abort their daughters.”
Live Action has launched another website, ProtectOurGirls.com, which is devoted to raising awareness of sex-selective abortions and other issues, such as human trafficking. The group cites a study that 163 million girls worldwide are missing due to killing based on gender.
He Meiqian, the grad student in Boston, acknowledged that she feels lucky, statistically speaking, to be the one girl in her Chinese family, compared to people in undeveloped areas of China. She noted a division between Chinese girls born in the city and those in rural areas, saying that where she grew up it was common for girls to be enrolled in piano lessons and ballet.
She also shares, however, a chilling account relayed to her by a middle-school classmate who visited grandparents in a rural area of China. The family had repeatedly found baby girls abandoned to die in the cold desert of the region; their skin turned purple by the exposure.
“I feel very sorry or unfortunate that we didn’t have this law or bill passed,” she said. “I think any children whatever, boys or girls, should definitely be protected for their right to survival.”
Register correspondent Justin Bell writes from Boston.
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