February 22, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Monday the Arizona House voted overwhelmingly to pass a bill that would ban abortions based upon either the race or the gender of the unborn child.

The legislation will now go to the Senate.

The bill, which passed in a 41-18 vote, was introduced by Rep. Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield Park, who said, “I introduced this bill to take a stand against bigotry and prejudice.”

The legislation (HB 2443) not only bans sex- and race-selective abortions, but puts in place a fine of up to $10,000 for health care workers who fail to report a violation of the law.

It also requires that abortionists fill out an affidavit prior to any abortion that says that they are not performing the abortion for reasons of race or sex, and that they have no knowledge that the abortion is being requested for those reasons.

During Monday’s debate over the bill, Montenegro pointed to the massive imbalance in abortion rates nationally between racial minorities and whites in the U.S. “Do you believe that a woman is equal to a man? That a black person is as valuable as a white person?,” he said. “Some people don’t believe that and those people don’t deserve your protection and my protection.”

“I introduced this bill to put an end to offensive and repugnant practices which have no place in an egalitarian, multi-cultural society.”

While much attention has been focused recently on the racial imbalance in abortions in the U.S., there is increasing evidence that gender-selective abortions are also a rising problem, particularly amongst recent immigrant populations that traditionally favor male children. In a 2008 article Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute pointed to census data in the U.S. that shows that there are significant imbalances between male and female children amongst certain populations that can only be explained by sex-selective abortions.

Rep. Chester Crandell, R-Heber, who supported the Arizona legislation, said this week: “Once we start selecting and we start deciding who we want to be born and who we don’t want to be born, this civilization in the United States as we know it today will no longer exist.”