Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2015


Abortion, Sex selection, Sex-selective abortion bans, Asian immigrants


Law and Gender


In the last five years, over half of the state legislatures in the United States have considered banning sex-selective abortion because of the (false) belief that Asian Americans are disproportionately giving birth to more boys than are European Americans. Supported by the data that applies to a very small subset of Asian Americans, proponents of the law stereotype Asian Americans by assuming that their birthing patterns are the same as those of people in India and China.

Because of the undue focus on Asian immigrants in the discussions of sex selection bans, the real conversation that should occur in the American democratic system is short-circuited. States legislators and voters fail to discuss whether or not sex selection is a gateway to eugenics concerns, whether or not sex selection perpetuates gender stereotypes, and whether or not sex selection should be used for family balancing. Any bans on sex-selective abortion should take these issues into account and should not be based on misinformed views about the practices of Asian immigrants in the United States.