Planned Parenthood opposes laws that would allow a woman the chance to see her baby on the ultrasound screen before an abortion. According to Planned Parenthood’s website:
“While the ultrasound bill was amended in Virginia, it is still an appalling and offensive government overreach that is designed to shame women who are seeking legal health care. Governor McDonnell clearly has a political agenda to restrict women’s access to health care, and the ultrasound law is just the latest example of his extreme agenda,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “The bottom line is that Governor McDonnell is looking to further his own political ambitions at the risk of hurting women’s health in Virginia. The country has stood up and is taking notice.”
“Planned Parenthood Federation of America Strongly Condemns Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Signing Mandatory Ultrasound Bill” Planned Parenthood Website
And yet, when commenting on the morality of using ultrasound pictures to determine whether an unborn baby is a girl in order to abort based on her gender, Planned Parenthood’s director of community relations in Lancaster County, PA said:
“The information about a woman’s pregnancy has to be made available to her. We can’t legislate what a man or a woman will do with medical information. Physicians with problems with the way a patient will use information they give them should let the patient know so they can go elsewhere.”
Christopher Farley “The Debate Over Uses of Prenatal Testing” USA Today Feb 2, 1989 1D
Planned Parenthood opposes women’s access to ultrasound technology if it means that they may be dissuaded from abortion, but supports the use of ultrasound technology if its purpose is to determine whether a baby should be aborted. This blatant pro-abortion bias truly shows where Planned Parenthood’s priorities lie.
“[W]e cannot hold simultaneously that abortion involves the right of women to control their bodies, but that women must be restricted by law from choosing specifically to abort female fetuses. We seem to be counterposing the rights of (future) women to be born against the rights of (present) women to control over their bodies.”
Nivedita Menon “Abortion as a Feminist Issue: Who Decides, and What?” Outlook India May 12, 2012
A survey was done of South Asian immigrant women recruited from a clinic that provides sex determination tests. This clinic was located in the US but catered to Asian women who wanted to find out the sex of their babies to have an abortion if the child was a girl.
It found that one third of the women cited past physical abuse and neglect related specifically to their failing to produce a male child.
Sunita Puri et al., “There Is Such a Thing As Too Many Daughters, but Not Too Many Sons: A Qualitative Study of Son Preference for Fetal Sex Selection among Indian Immigrants in the United States” Social Science and Medicine 72, 1169 – 1170 (2011)
The Sydney Morning Herald had an article about a sonographer who was asked what sex the baby was. The parents intended to abort if the baby was a girl
The sonographer says:
“They said something along the lines of ‘We need to know the sex, because if it’s a girl we are going to terminate it’,” they said.
You have to deal with things like terminal cancer and miscarriages when you’re working as a sonographer. But this occasion, it still sickens me to this day.”
From the author of the article:
As was the policy of their employer, the sonographer did not tell them the sex at the first scan, although they were so shocked by the incident, they can’t remember if they noticed if it was a boy or a girl.
From the sonographer:
“I did wonder for some time what became of that baby.”
Dr. Roxana Chapman describes how a woman came to her requesting an abortion because her baby was a girl. The woman was of Indian descent. Chapman describes the woman, Sunita, as “a sophisticated and Anglicized young lady attired in a smart trouser suit.” Chapman recounts what happened. The woman said:
“This is my third pregnancy. I have two daughters and would like a son. I just couldn’t face having another daughter.” This request came in such a natural way as to make me suppose that she thought I fully understood how important gender selection was for her…
She said that she was a Hindu and believed in reincarnation. She was also a vegetarian and did not eat meat because it involved taking animal life which she held to be sacred. She finally expressed the view that there was no law against abortion in Hinduism…
It is interesting to note that during the same month six other Indian patients attended my consulting rooms with similar requests. Their stories were all somewhat alike, and I’ve chosen just one as an illustration. With all these patients I was faced with a similar dilemma.”
Dr. Roxana Chapman Abortion: The Patient’s and the Doctor’s Dilemma (Barham Press, 2007) 44 – 45, 47
Dr. Jamie Grifo, program director for New York University’s Fertility Center, runs two clinics that do embryo screening. They allow couples to choose certain characteristics for their children. This process allows sex selection for couples who want a girl or a boy.
Dr. Jamie Grifo defends this by saying:
“For someone who has two girls and wants to have a boy, so each sibling can grow up with brother and sister, what’s wrong with that?”
Pam Belluck “If You Really, Really Wanted a Girl …” The New York Times August 20, 2011
Although this is not sex selection abortion, the fact that couples seek out Grifo’s services show that some parents want to control the sex of their children. Would these couples abort a baby of the “wrong” sex?
In a New York Times article, doctors who do fertility treatments say some couples want to create a baby of a certain sex. The article says:
“There is evidence that some Americans want to choose their babies’ sex. At the Fertility Institutes, a set of clinics in Los Angeles, New York and Guadalajara, Mexico, 85 percent of roughly 500 couples each year seek sex selection, although three-quarters of them come from overseas, said Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, the medical director.”
The article also quotes Dr. Steinberg, whose clinics determine sex through pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, an embryo screening:
“It’s jumped over the past four years. If a woman calls to make the appointment, the couple almost always wants a female. If a man calls, they almost always want a male.”
Pam Belluck “If You Really, Really Wanted a Girl …” The New York Times August 20, 2011
These parents choose to implant embryos of the preferred gender and dispose of the ones of the “wrong” gender.
Lauren Mitchell is an abortion doula who was training other abortion doulas. She gave a series of scenarios that she says she encountered in her abortion work. The writer of the article was another abortion doula who is going through the training:
“A woman who says she’d like to do another ultrasound to see if it’s definitely a girl, because she’ll only keep it if it isn’t….“What do you assume?” Mitchell asked of each case. “How can you be supportive?” We talked about what would be hard for us to overcome, things we might say or do and how we might feel. I felt embarrassed by my assumptions, and the limits of my compassion. I judged these women on the worthiness of their reasons (“Would she really only keep a boy?” I wondered) and found myself questioning why those who come in for late-term abortions had waited so long to decide.
From the book The Tentative Pregnancy: How Amniocentesis Changes the Experience of Motherhood, in which the author describes studies showing a preference for sons among US families:
“The libraries are piled high with studies showing that both women and men prefer boys to girls as their first child. In three child families, they prefer two boys and a girl to two girls and a boy. This finding shows up in surveys when the question is posed abstractly, say, to college students about the “ideal family.” It shows up in action when we see that all girl families are more likely to go on to a next pregnancy that are families with the same number of children but including a son; and when we see shorter birth intervals following the birth of a daughter than following a son.
The existence of son preference is further substantiated in the more detailed studies of women’s experiences with pregnancy and early motherhood. Myra Leifer, a psychologist who closely followed 19 women through their first pregnancies, found that 14 of them reported a preference for a boy and two hoped to have a girl. Three women expressed no clear preference. Ann Oakley, interviewing 60 women in depth and repeatedly throughout their first pregnancies, found less willingness to report boy preference ahead of time. 54% said they wanted a boy, 22% a girl, and 25% said they didn’t mind which it was. But she found a very great difference once the baby arrived. The women said they were unwilling to admit a preference beforehand, but once the babies were born, 93% of the mothers of sons said that they were pleased with the sex of their babies, and only 55% of the mothers of daughters said they were pleased.
In all of the reported instances where sex selection techniques are offered… It is boys people try to achieve.” ”
Myra Leifer, Psychological Effects of Motherhood: A Study a First Pregnancy (New York: Praeger, 1980) 84
Ann Oakley, Becoming a Mother (New York: Schocken Books, 1980) 118
Both the studies above show a preference for sons among Americans. This preference for sons might lead to sex-selection abortions.
Barbara Katz Rothman. The Tentative Pregnancy: How Amniocentesis Changes the Experience of Motherhood (New York: WW Norton & Company, 1993) 133 – 134