(WASHINGTON) — The House will vote late Wednesday on a bill that would ban doctors from performing abortions based on the sex of the unborn child.
Opponents say so-called “sex-selection” abortions are sought mainly to terminate a pregnancy because the fetus is female.
“You know, if that doesn’t insult our conscience collectively as Americans, I don’t know what will,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), the bill’s lead sponsor.
The practice is said to occur frequently in China, where families are permitted to have just one child, and boys have greater value in the culture.
“A lot of the Asian immigrant communities here is where it’s most prevalent in America,” Franks charged.
Abortion rights supporters say the law is unnecessary and they worry it could lead to racial profiling by doctors. Under the new law, physicians could face up to five years in prison if they knowingly perform an abortion based on the unborn baby’s sex.
Franks noted other developed nations, including Australia and the United Kingdom, ban sex-selection.
“At least we have got to be able to agree that it’s wrong to kill a little unborn baby girl, simply because she’s a little girl instead of a little boy,” he said.
Because of the procedure chosen by House leadership, Franks’ bill will require a two-thirds majority.
“That may make it very difficult to pass,” he said. “But at least we will know, clearly, who is with us and who is against us.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio