Texas Sex-Selective Abortion Ban (HB 17)
This law was last updated on Oct 8, 2013
HB 17 would have prohibited a person from performing or attempting to perform an abortion that is based on the sex of the fetus. It also would have prohibited a person from using force or threat of force to coerce the performance or attempted performance of an abortion based on the sex of the fetus.
The bill states that a person who violates this provision commits a Class B misdemeanor. A physician who violates the provision may have his or her license suspended or revoked, and commits a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000. A pregnant woman may not be prosecuted under the law or for conspiracy to violate the law.
Sex-selection abortions are not a widespread problem in the United States. However, anti-choice activists cite three studies documenting the use of sex-selection abortion primarily among a small number of immigrant women. The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum notes that a ban similar to the proposed Texas ban “targets and thus limits reproductive health access for Asian American & Pacific Islander women, who anti-choicers say are the ones guilty of this abortion practice. We know the real solution to ending the preference for sons in some families is getting to the root of the problem: gender inequity. If lawmakers truly want to help us, we call on them to promote equal pay, access to education, health equity, and ending violence against women.”
HB 17 was introduced during the second special legislative session called by Gov. Rick Perry in 2013 but failed to pass out of committee. Identical bills were introduced during the regular session (HB 309) and the first special session (HB 55) but failed to pass out of committee.