Moral debate

Indiana passes bill prohibiting abortion based on sex, race, or disability

State capitol building in downtown Indianapolis Indiana on a sunny spring morning, Indianapolis is the capital city of Indiana and is located in the center of the state with the capitol building located downtown. (Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

Indiana passed an “anti-discrimination” bill in March that prohibited abortions sought because of “race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, or diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or any other disability.” Pro-life advocates have hailed the measure, and the bill’s sponsor, State Representative Casey Cox, said the law was intended to ensure “ours is a policy that values life no matter who you are, where you come from or what your disability might be.”

Even if the bill takes effect — the ACLU and Planned Parenthood have filed a lawsuit against it — it’s unclear how it would be enforced. In the United States, unlike other countries such as the United Kingdom, women are not required to give an explanation when they get an abortion.

While many abortion advocates argue for unrestricted access to abortion, Marsha Sexton, a Berkeley lecturer who heads research and training at the World Institute on Disability, said that many in the disability-activism community would hesitate to abort a fetus because of a detected disability. “The vast majority of people have figured out how to have great lives with disabilities,” she noted. And in China and India, where sex-selective abortion is common, populations are already begin to skew male. “But prohibiting sex selection isn’t addressing the real problem,” said Sexton. “The real problem is sexism.”

Read the full story at The Atlantic.

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