Sex Selection: Tools for Action

Posted by Marcy Darnovsky February 10, 2010
Biopolitical Times
Supporters of abortion rights are deeply torn by the practice of sex selection. The recent introduction by abortion opponents of federal and state bills that would ban sex-selective abortions – clearly in the service of their larger agenda – makes the challenge even more difficult.

As the newly issued Taking a Stand: Tools for Action on Sex Selection [PDF] puts it,
“As much as reproductive rights and justice advocates would prefer a world without sex selection, they are also deeply concerned that limiting sex selection could implicate abortion rights in the United States and undermine women's reproductive privacy and self-determination.
"Nevertheless, progressive advocates are being pushed to take a position on sex selection in part because the anti-abortion groups have begun using sex selection as a wedge issue to undermine abortion rights, and in part because of their own pressing concerns about gender discrimination and trait selection. Importantly, some advocates believe that lines can be drawn that uphold abortion rights and discourage sex selection, lines that have been drawn successfully in numerous other countries in the world.”  
Taking a Stand, a collaborative project of Generations Ahead, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, and Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice, offers background information, legislative updates, political education activities, and policy suggestions for reproductive rights and justice advocates. Warning that sex selection is “the gateway issue to an even more complex array of issues related to reproductive technologies and genetic trait selection,” it predicts:
“How well we do in taking a stand on sex selection might lay the foundation for how we approach this next generation of issues.”