By Kathleen Gilbert


OKLAHOMA CITY, May 27, 2009 ( – Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry on Thursday signed into law a ban on aborting children based on their gender, making Oklahoma the third state to ban gender-selective abortions.


In addition to “prohibiting the performance of an abortion solely on account of the sex of the unborn child,” House Bill 1595 also requires abortionists to provide the Oklahoma State Department of Health with detailed information on each abortion performed.


Abortionists are to record the mother's age, marital status and education level, as well as the number of prior pregnancies, reason and method of abortion, and the nature of the mother’s relationship with the child's father.  Abortionists violating the law for the first time would be subject to a $10,000 fine, rising to $100,000 by the third violation. 


The Senate voted 35-9 May 15 in support of the bill, after the House voted 88-6 in favor. The bill will take effect November 1.


Only two other states – Illinois and Pennsylvania – prohibit sex-selective abortions.  Illinois' ban was passed in 1975, and Pennsylvania's passed in 1989. 


“[HB 1595] will be very significant in terms of prohibiting sex selection abortions and also because of the comprehensive reporting the bill provides,” Tony Lauinger, chairman of Oklahomans for Life, told the Oklahoman. “It will also be helpful in identifying complications of abortion and understanding the damage abortion inflicts on women.”


Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for life had urged Gov. Henry to sign the bill.  “Aborting a baby because she's a girl or he's a boy is offensive on so many levels, it's hard to imagine anyone trying to justify the practice,” Fr. Pavone said.


Though critics have questioned whether sex-selective abortion is a relevant issue in America, a report by researchers at Columbia University and the National Bureau of Economic Research published in 2008 revealed a strong “son bias” in American births in 2000, and showed “clear evidence of sex selection, most likely at the prenatal stage.”  Although theoretically such abortions could be aimed against unwanted boys, in practice unwanted girls are the commoner victims.    


A 2006 Zogby poll found 86% of Americans supported banning sex-selective abortion.


On March 31, Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) and about 30 bipartisan cosponsors introduced to Congress the Susan B. Anthony/Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, which would ban sex-selective abortions on a federal level.


See related coverage:


Sweden Rules Gender-Selective Abortions Legal