For years, it was unthinkable that society would tolerate so-called designer babies or the move toward gender-based abortion. Now, evidence shows some U.S. couples are making that choice.
In some cases, cultural attitudes are a factor. An analysis of the 2000 Census shows that families of Chinese, Korean, and Indian descent are more likely to have a boy if their first child is a girl -- and even more likely if their first two children are girls.
The conclusion: These families want boys so much they will use in vitro fertilization or abortion to get what they want.
The desire to choose gender is also playing out at one clinic, which selects embryos on the basis of sex. Pro-lifers fear this could lead toward more acceptance of using gender as a reason for abortion.
How big of an issue is gender-based abortions in the United States? Tom McClusky, vice president for government affairs at the Family Research Council, has more following this report on CBN Newswatch, March 4.
"We're approaching an era of designer babies where everybody wants what they consider to be the perfect child or perfect family," Dr. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, said.
Mosher has fought this mindset for more than 30 years.
"This is the worst form of discrimination possible," Mosher said. "We're not talking about discrimination, about pay or job or benefits. We're talking about discrimination that kills."
That argument has led Illinois, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Arizona to ban the practice. Now, lawmakers in eight other states are considering bills that would forbid abortions solely on the basis of gender.
In Washington, Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., wants to revisit a bill that would do the same. He acknowledged the stakes are high -- not only for protecting the unborn but because such a law could challenge Roe v. Wade.
"If this legislation passes, it sets up a profound conflict with Roe v. Wade because if it's alright to protect a child from being aborted because they're the wrong sex, that's an equal protection issue," Franks said.
"If we protect one group of children, it really removes any excuse for not protecting them all," he added.
So far, pro-choice groups have bypassed the equality debate, arguing instead that banning gender-based abortion attacks a woman's right to choose.