Kellyanne Conway’s History Of Pushing A Right-Wing Media, Anti-Choice Lie About Abortion
To Limit Abortion Access, Trump's Campaign Manager Has Long Promoted The Dangerous Lie That Democrats Support "Sex-Selective" Abortion
Research ››› ››› SHARON KANN
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, has a long history of alleging that the Democratic Party supports allowing so-called “sex-selective” abortions because it devalues "little baby girls." During the 2016 election cycle, Conway has frequently promoted this misleading and unsubstantiated right-wing media myth, which perpetuates harmful racial and ethnic stereotypes and is a cover for greater abortion restrictions.
Anti-Choice Lawmakers Have A Long History Of Trying To Ban So-Called "Sex-Selective" Abortions
NY Times: Since 2012, Republicans Have Been “Contriving A Vote On Legislation” To Ban So-Called “Sex-Selective Abortion.” In 2012, the United States Senate failed to pass the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) -- a bill that claimed to ban so-called “sex-selective abortion[s].” However, as The New York Times reported, Democrats and reproductive rights advocates have long argued that anti-choice lawmakers are merely “contriving a vote on legislation to address a problem that does not exist.” The Times quoted Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), who explained that she didn’t support “sex-selective” abortion and didn’t know “anyone who does ... because there is no problem in this country of abortion for gender selection.” In 2016, the House against heard testimony about PRENDA but failed to bring the measure to a vote. From The New York Times:
The House on Thursday rejected a measure that sought to impose fines and prison terms on doctors who perform abortions on women who are trying to select the gender of their offspring — a practice known as sex-selective abortion.
The legislation, which required two-thirds support to win passage under the fast-track procedure used to bring it to the floor, fell short on a vote of 246 to 168. Republicans did not anticipate that the legislation would pass, but saw it as an opportunity to force Democrats to vote on an issue with appeal among conservatives.
“Today’s vote is a stunning declaration by supporters of abortion that they oppose any restrictions on abortion,” said Representative John Fleming, Republican of Louisiana.
Democrats accused Republicans of contriving a vote on legislation to address a problem that does not exist.
“I don’t support abortion for gender selection,” said Representative Diana DeGette, Democrat of Colorado and an opponent of the legislation. “I don’t know anyone who does. Maybe that’s because there is no problem in this country of abortion for gender selection.” [The New York Times, 5/31/12; The Huffington Post, 4/14/16]
“Sex-Selection” Is A Debunked, Anti-Choice Myth With Little Supporting Evidence
Guttmacher Institute: So-Called “Sex-Selective” Abortion Restrictions Are “Disguised As A Means To Eliminate Gender Discrimination” But Actually “Make Abortion Less Accessible.” In an October 2016 release, the Guttmacher Institute noted that although “sex-selective” abortion restrictions are “disguised as a means to eliminate gender discrimination,” in reality, these laws “make abortion less accessible.” Furthermore, Guttmacher noted that the evidence supporting the notion of “sex-selective” abortions “is limited and inconclusive”:
State legislatures are adopting numerous abortion restrictions targeting very specific pregnancy conditions and populations of women. In recent years, members of Congress have introduced federal legislation that would prohibit abortions based on the sex or race of the fetus.
Sex-selective abortions—that is, abortions performed because of the predicted sex of the fetus—occur most frequently where there is a strong gender bias that manifests in a preference for sons. In some countries, such as those in East and South Asia, the widespread practice of sex selection has resulted in skewed sex ratios with a higher number of boys than girls at birth. In contrast, in the United States, there is limited and inconclusive evidence that immigrants from these areas—or anywhere else—are obtaining sex-selective abortions in this country. Bans on sex-selective abortions place a burden on providers, who are forced to not only question all women’s reasons for seeking an abortion, but to also second-guess and stigmatize Asian-American women and communities. While disguised as a means to eliminate gender discrimination, these laws make abortion less accessible; they do not prohibit other sex selection methods, such as sperm sorting or preimplantation genetic diagnostics. [Guttmacher Institute, 10/1/16]
“Sex-Selective Abortion” Claims Lack “Empirical Support” And Are The Product Of Lawmakers “Concerned Primarily With Restricting Access To Abortion Generally.” The University of Chicago Law School, the National Asian Pacific Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), and Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) released a report in June 2014 debunking the misinformation underpinning the myth of so-called “sex-selective abortion” in the United States. According to the report, those promoting “sex-selective abortion bans” not only lack critical “empirical support” for their claims, but are also reflective of efforts by anti-choice lawmakers who are “concerned primarily with restricting access to abortion generally.” From Replacing Myths with Facts: Sex-Selective Abortion in the United States (citations removed and emphasis added):
Proponents of sex-selective abortion bans have explicitly stated that the laws are actually part of the effort to restrict access to abortion entirely. In 2008, Steven Mosher, head of the Population Research Institute (a leading anti-abortion group), stated: “I propose that we—the pro-life movement—adopt as our next goal the banning of sex- and race-selective abortion.” And in a 2008 article, an influential conservative thinker and law professor declared that the “key to eroding Roe v. Wade . . . is to pass a number of state or federal laws that restrict abortion rights in ways approved of by at least fifty percent of the public,” such as “a ban on abortion for sex selection.” Following this lead, antiabortion groups have created model legislation to ban sex-selective abortion.
The language used in laws banning sex-selective abortion also suggests that lawmakers are concerned primarily with restricting access to abortion generally, rather than combatting gender discrimination. For instance, the language used in the bill pending in the United States Congress consistently refers to the “unborn child” and defines abortion sought based on the sex of the fetus as “the intentional killing of unborn females.” The bill also makes the claim that “[a]bortion is the leading cause of death in the Black community,” thereby equating the termination of a pregnancy with the death of a living person.
The key empirical support for sex-selective abortion bans in the United States comes from a study of census data that is now almost 15 years old. The study by Almond and Edlund found male-biased sex ratios at birth for the second and third children of foreign-born Chinese, Indians and Koreans when they had already given birth to one or two girls. Our study of more recent data from the American Community Survey from 2007 to 2011 reveals that the sex ratios at birth of foreign-born Chinese, Indians and Koreans, as well as all Asian Americans, in the United States are lower than the sex ratios of white Americans, when all births are taken into account. This means that Asian Americans have more girls than white Americans. The National Asian American Survey, a poll conducted among Asian Americans, further reveals that Asian Americans do not have a preference for sons over daughters.
Proponents of sex-selective abortion bans claim that the United States is one of the few countries in the world where sex-selective abortion is not prohibited. However, our research reveals that only four countries explicitly prohibit sex-selective abortion and that, instead, many countries that are concerned with sex selection prohibit the practice even before the embryo is implanted in the uterus. Our research also reveals that sex-selective abortion bans are not likely to change sex ratios at birth. In a study we conducted on sex ratios in two states that adopted sex-selective abortion bans over 15 years ago—Illinois and Pennsylvania—we found that the laws were not associated with changes in sex ratios. [Replacing Myths with Facts: Sex-Selective Abortion in the United States, June 2014]
“Sex-Selective” Abortion Ban Bills Are “A Blatant Attempt To Limit Abortion Access” And Are Also “An Affront To Black And Asian Women.” Ahead of the most recent hearing on the PRENDA bill, Marcela Howell and Miriam Yeung -- executive directors of two leading reproductive justice organizations representing women of color -- wrote an op-ed in The Hill arguing that such bills are “a blatant attempt to limit abortion access and is an affront to Black and Asian women.” As Slate explained, PRENDA and similar bills “are rooted in the racist notion that Asian-American women abort female fetuses because they prefer boys.” Howell and Yeung wrote that because of this, PRENDA “perpetuates hurtful racial stereotypes about Black women” by implying that they “are incapable of making ‘right’ and ‘sound moral’ decisions about their reproductive health.” Similarly, they argued that “the bill [also] perpetuates the offensive stereotype that Asian American families do not value the lives of their girl children.” Howell and Yeung additionally explained that although advocates claimed PRENDA would ensure greater “racial and gender equality, this bill decreases quality care for Black and Asian women by interfering with the relationship between doctors and their patients.” From The Hill:
This new legislation, as with similar legislation introduced in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013, is a blatant attempt to limit abortion access and is an affront to Black and Asian women. Since it was first proposed in 2008, it has served as a blueprint for states to introduce “race and sex selection” abortion bans. As of March 2016, eight states ban abortion for reasons of sex selection, one state prohibits abortion for reasons of race, and one state prohibits abortion when the fetus may have a genetic anomaly. All of these bans share common purpose and impact: to block those who need it from getting abortion care.
Rather than supporting racial and gender equality, this bill decreases quality care for Black and Asian women by interfering with the relationship between doctors and their patients. Open, honest communication with one’s medical provider is critical to quality care. This ban interferes with that trust. If this bill passes, doctors will be forced to act as police interrogators in the exam room. No woman should ever be scrutinized based on her racial and ethnic background, but this is exactly what these bans encourage.
This legislation perpetuates hurtful racial stereotypes about Black women. The implication is that Black women are incapable of making “right” and “sound moral” decisions about their reproductive health. The inference of this and similarly written legislation is an affront to the many Black women, including Black women of faith, who choose and support access to safe and legal abortion as a necessary health care option for all women.
Similarly, the bill perpetuates the offensive stereotype that Asian American families do not value the lives of their girl children. While sex selection is an issue abroad, the U.S. is not China or India. In the U.S., researchers have found that this is not a widespread problem and in fact, Asian Americans are actually having more girls on average than white Americans. [The Hill, 4/14/16; Slate, 4/14/16]
Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway Regularly Alleges “Sex-Selection Abortions” Are A Problem In The United States
Kellyanne Conway Alleged That The Vice Presidential Debate Showed “The Extremism Of The Democratic Party” Which She Says Includes Support For “Sex-Selection” Abortion. During the October 5 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Kellyanne Conway -- Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign manager -- alleged that the vice presidential debate had demonstrated “the extremism of the Democratic Party” on abortion. In particular, Conway alleged that the Democratic platform allows so-called “sex-selection” abortions in which someone could “find out the sex” of their baby and “decide for that reason only ... to terminate.” She also promoted a number of myths about abortion -- including the medically disputed allegation that fetal pain exists early enough to justify a ban on abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation, and that the Democratic platform includes abortion being available "anytime, [for] anyone, anywhere." Fox co-host Brian Kilmeade did not challenge Conway’s false assertions about abortion and instead asked her if “there’s a right way to message” on those claims. From Fox & Friends (emphasis added):
AINSLEY EARHARDT (HOST): Kellyanne, as a woman, why isn't the mainstream media talking about how Tim Kaine flip-flopped on this controversial issue?
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Oh because abortion is like a religion to many of them -- and their adherents -- Ainsley, last night was a moment I’ve been waiting for literally for decades. I’ve been working on messaging in the pro-life movement for decades. And finally we have somebody running for president or vice president who articulated it perfectly. Go read the Democratic Party platform on abortion: It is basically abortion anytime, anyone, anywhere. It is not the safe, legal, and rare stance of President Bill Clinton. There’s no exceptions for sex-selection -- you can basically find out the sex of your baby and decide for that reason only you’d like to terminate your pregnancy.
Donald Trump has said if he’s president he will sign into law the Pain Capable bill, which basically is non-partisan scientists and doctors saying that at about 20 weeks a fetus can feel pain, so you should not have an abortion after that. Abortion -- late-term abortion -- they were talking about the Hyde amendment. The Hyde amendment basically means no taxpayer funding for abortion. I don’t pay for your abortion, you don’t pay for my Viagra -- not to get so personal. But, it sounds like a pretty good deal, it sounds like fair to the taxpayer. But I thought this was an incredible moment to show the extremism of the Democratic Party on abortion. This is probably the only place you’ll hear it today.
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): So Kellyanne, just to build on this for a second. You say there’s a right way to message it. But do you also say, no matter what your beliefs are, if you got out and say “I’m going to overturn Roe v. Wade,” that that’ll be also something that will hurt any candidate
CONWAY: Well, that’s why Tim Kaine was trying to go there and pretend that Donald Trump and Mike Pence are against women. This is a very stale talking point on their side and the fact is that people believe that the states should decide their health care policy and many other policies, frankly. And this is no exception. I mean, what Roe v. Wade does -- did -- was it made it federal policy. It made federal policy many years ago. I think that when you chip away, you look at very few Americans in this county, those who call themselves pro-choice included, they say: “I’m pro-choice, but I’m not pro that -- what do you mean seventh, eighth, and ninth month? No.” I mean, if this happened --
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): So that’s the point?
CONWAY: That’s the point, is how extreme. Because they love to say -- to Ainsley’s point about quote “women’s issues.” They talk about women’s issues and it’s really euphemism for abortion. They’ll talk about women’s health and they really mean abortion. So forcing them to even say that word -- I think, we at the Trump/Pence campaign thinks all issues are women’s issues. I've been doing this for 28 years. I've never a single time heard the phrase men's issues. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/5/16]
Conway Claimed Clinton Supports “Sex-Selective Abortion” During Post-Debate Interview On Fox News. Conway said in a September 26 interview on Fox News’ The Kelly File that during the debate, “America didn’t hear that [Clinton] is for late-term, [or] sex-selective abortion,” a procedure that she alleged means “you can find out the gender of your baby” and terminate the pregnancy on that basis. From The Kelly File (emphasis added):
MEGYN KELLY (HOST): So let me ask you to grade both performances -- his and hers.
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Oh I'm so bad at that.
KELLY: Just take a stab at it.
CONWAY: I mean, I'd give them both a satisfactory in that -- I guess 90 minutes went too quickly for me. There are so many issues that could have fallen into those particular categories. We didn't hear -- America didn't hear that she's for late-term abortion, sex-selective abortion, that you can find out the gender of your baby and then --
KELLY: They didn’t really do social issues in the debate.
CONWAY: Right. [Fox News, The Kelly File, 9/26/16]
Conway Repeated Her Claim About “Sex-Selective Abortion” On Fox News’ Fox & Friends The Next Morning. Conway appeared on the September 27 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends and repeated her claim that Clinton supported the practice of “sex-selective abortion.” Conway alleged that Clinton’s abortion stance was among other topics she was disappointed had also been excluded from the first presidential debate. From Fox & Friends (emphasis added):
KELLYANNE CONWAY: So Mr. Trump and I have both said publicly and I'll repeat it here, Ainsley, that Lester Holt did a good job, he did a great job under very tough circumstances. One of the things that nobody is ever going to be satisfied with is why wasn't this raised, why wasn’t that issue raised. And I saw your graphic earlier that Donald Trump was grilled -- cross-examined on a number of issues -- you listed them there -- and that didn't happen with Hillary Clinton on Benghazi, on emails. Mr. Trump had to mention emails.
CONWAY: Pick a card, any card. The fact that she's for late-term, the sex-selective abortion. If we’re talking about domestic issues, the fact that she changed her mind, did a total 180, on gay marriage. She ran in 2008 emphatically defending traditional marriage and now running in 2016 has totally shifted on that completely. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/27/16]
In April, Conway Argued That Democrats Support “Sex-Selective Abortion” For “Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere.” Before joining the Trump campaign, Conway appeared on the April 27 edition of CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront to discuss the announcement that then-Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-TX) had named Carly Fiorina as his running mate. In a conversation about whether naming Fiorina improved Cruz’s chances to secure the Republican nomination, Conway argued that Fiorina could leverage her anti-choice stance by claiming the Democratic Party was “extreme on abortion” because they support “sex-selective abortion” for “anyone, anytime, anywhere.” From CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront (emphasis added):
ERIN BURNETT (HOST): Right. Kellyanne, here's the thing. Eric Trump tweeted -- Donald Trump's son -- this move is, quote, “one of the greatest acts of desperation I have ever seen.” Certainly, Carly Fiorina, by virtue of her gender, you could see that's part of this, right? You go after the fact that Donald Trump has such huge unfavorables with women. But is that enough? You're going to see women suddenly flock to Ted Cruz because of Carly Fiorina?
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Well, I don't look at Carly Fiorina just as a woman. And I think if the Trump camp really thinks that it's desperate, then just ignore it. I mean, they're really making a lot of hay about it for people who think it's a nonstarter and it's irrelevant, it's not going to work. They sure got under their skin a little bit. Look, of course she's a woman. And she's proven herself a very formidable, fearless defender of conservative values. But I think, more importantly, she’ll force, Carly will force a two-way conversation on abortion. You know, Hillary Clinton tries to own that, that Republicans are -- these white men are anti-women and anti-choice.
I think Carly Fiorina will right get in there and say, you're really extreme on abortion, Hillary and the Democrats, because you're for partial-birth abortion, sex-selective abortion, taxpayer-funded abortion, fetal-pain abortion, abortion anyone anytime anywhere. That's not something I don't think Donald Trump or Ted Cruz are going to do as comfortably. [CNN, Erin Burnett OutFront, 4/27/16]
Conway Has A Long History Of Alleging “Sex-Selection” Abortions Are A Frequent Problem In The United States
Conway: “Let’s Talk About Which Party Is Extreme On Abortion” And Allows “Sex-Selection” As A Criteria For Termination. During a 2014 appearance on CNN’s Crossfire, Conway got into an argument about the Democratic Party’s general stance on abortion, which she classified as being “extreme.” Conway said, “Let’s talk about which party is extreme on abortion” and argued that the Democratic Party endorsed abortion “with no regulations,” allowing “sex-selection” as a criteria for termination. From CNN’s Crossfire (emphasis added):
STEPHANIE CUTTER (HOST): Actually, one of the first votes. Let's talk about one of the first votes, in the middle of the State of the Union is that you guys are going to vote on abortion of all things.
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Let's talk about, not just abortion, let's talk about which party is extreme on abortion, is it the party that official party platform says no restrictions, no regulation, can you think of any time eighth month, ninth month, sex selection fetal pain when nonpartisan scientists say a baby or a zygote as you all like to say can feel pain, is there any time --
CUTTER: If it works for you -- has it worked for you to roll back funding for Planned Parenthood?
CONWAY: What does roll back mean? [CNN, Crossfire, via Nexis, 1/24/14]
In 2013, Conway Alleged That Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate Terry McAuliffe “Holds A Position That He Is For Sex-Selective Abortion.” Conway appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews in 2013 to discuss the Virginia gubernatorial race between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli. During the November 2013 segment, Conway argued that Cuccinelli should frame McAuliffe as having extreme abortion positions -- alleging that the Democrat supports “sex-selective abortion.” From Hardball with Chris Matthews (emphasis added):
CHRIS MATTHEWS (HOST) Now we have got an expert on the program tonight. Kellyanne Conway is a Republican pollster and an expert. And Sam Stein is a political editor at The Huffington Post. Kelly, and I most want to hear from you. What do you -- just forget the usual partisan arguments we have here and everywhere else. If you sat in a room with a Republican candidate, a young guy, for example, or woman, who wanted to try to turn this back so that he had a 50/50 shot at the woman vote, what would you tell that person to do?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: I would say several things, many which were not done in the campaign in Virginia, Chris. One is, if you’re accused of holding a position and people are going to go on eight cylinders against that position, in this case paint Ken Cuccinelli as too extreme, as too anti-woman, anti-contraception, anti-abortion, anti- divorce in Virginia, you either have to own it or explain it.
And I think what he did was, he allowed silence to be acquiescence. They sort of hunkered down and ignored that and went the Romney route of jobs, jobs, jobs, economy, economy, economy. Ken lost women overall by nine points in Virginia and Romney lost them by 13 points a year earlier to Barack Obama.
He also missed a tremendous opportunity really to burrow into some of these pro-choice women who are pro-choice in the first trimester or before that, say, for rape and incest or for life of the mother. Ken Cuccinelli could have turned around and said, hey, Virginia`s women, do you know that Terry McAuliffe holds a position that he is for sex-selective abortion, he is for late-term abortion, he`s for --
MATTHEWS: Is he?
CONWAY: He`s for taxpayer-funded abortion. We, you and I, Sam, I’m sure, knows pro-choice women who disagree with those extreme views. [CNN, Hardball with Chris Matthews, via Nexis, 11/12/13]
Conway Argued Republicans Should “Hold Democratic Candidates” To Firm Positions, Including Asking If They Support “Sex-Selective Abortions.” In a 2013 article for National Review, Conway argued Republicans should try to “hold Democratic candidates” to firm positions on abortion. According to Conway, Republicans needed to press Democrats to answer further questions about what limits they would impose on abortion access and procedures. For example, she claimed Republicans should ask if their Democratic challengers support so-called “sex-selective abortions.” From National Review (emphasis added):
Democrats regularly charge that Republican candidates are extreme on abortion, and, to be frank, some Republican candidates have helped shape this narrative. But the GOP should be clear that, overall, Democrats are the extreme ones. The DNC's platform says: "The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right." GOP candidates need to hold Democratic candidates to this position. Does it include late-term abortions? Does it mean that Democrats oppose parental notification for those under 18? Does it include sex-selective abortions? Our firm's data show that only 12 percent of all voters believe that "abortion should be legal for any reason at any time during a woman's pregnancy" -- but that is the position of most major Democrats. Fifty-eight percent of registered voters oppose taxpayer funding of abortion. Voters, including single women, need educating about what the Democratic party stands for. [National Review, via Nexis, 9/30/13]
Conway Claimed That “Baby Girls [Are] Being Killed Just Because They’re Girls” In The United States. Conway alleged that “little baby girls [are] being killed just because they’re girls in this country,” but her point was quickly fact-checked by CNN host Anderson Cooper, who replied, “Statistically, there’s not really much evidence that that is actually occurring in the United States.” Cooper followed up after a break, quoting a Guttmacher Institute report that debunked Conway’s claim. From the August 21, 2012, edition of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360:
ANDERSON COOPER (HOST): Kellyanne, [Todd] Akin has run shoestring campaigns before. Right now it seems like there’s only two groups who want Akin to stay in this race, Akin himself, I guess his family and some supporters, and his Democratic opponent, Claire McCaskill. That pretty much sends a loud and clear message to him. Do you think he’s going to get that message?
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Well, the deadline passed today. He basically has until September 25 to plead his case to a judge and take himself off the ballot. But, I’ll just repeat what Congressman Akin said today in the press, which is where I read it, that he’s going to stay in the race. On this broader point of the GOP platform, that’s been in the platform -- that’s been in the plank of the platform for as long as I can remember. And what Paul [Begala] is saying that it doesn’t really reflect what most Americans think, we all know that polling has been showing many people in this country want restrictions on abortion, and I think we need to talk about the extremes on the left as well. They got some pressure, The Washington Post reported on August 10, that there are Democrats who are going to the convention in Charlotte who want their plank expanded. They feel it is too draconian, it doesn’t allow for partial-birth abortion bans, it doesn’t ban sex-selection, you’ve got all these little baby girls being killed just because they’re girls in this country--
COOPER: Wait, wait, excuse me, where is that happening?
CONWAY: Excuse me?
COOPER: You say we have all these baby girls being killed in this country because -- on sex-selections on abortions. Where is the evidence on that?
CONWAY: The Guttmacher Institute, which is the research arm of Planned Parenthood, has data on sex-selective abortions. And actually Congress -- the House just passed a bill to ban that. I’m not sure it ever went to the Senate, and I’m sure President Obama would veto it if was put on his desk --
COOPER: But statistically, there’s not really much evidence that that is actually occurring in the United States. Among some immigrant groups in small numbers, it may be occurring, but in no statistical measure is it significant.
CONWAY: Well we should look at the Guttmacher Institute statistics to really illuminate us on that. But it does -- it does occur because there's so much science now, people can, they can know the gender of their baby and they make their choices accordingly.
COOPER: Right, it occurs overseas a lot, but again, I don’t think the evidence is here in the United States.
COOPER: Before the break, Kellyanne, you mentioned the Guttmacher Institute information on sex-selective abortion in the United States. Here’s what they actually say in a May 30 press release, titled “Sex-Selective Abortion Bans -- A Disingenuous New Strategy to Limit Women’s Access to Abortion.” The study acknowledges the practice does go on overseas, as we mentioned, and perhaps in certain Asian-American communities in the United States in small numbers, but quote, “In the United States, meanwhile, there is limited data indicating that sex-selective abortion may be occurring in some Asian communities, although the U.S. sex ratio, at 1.05 males for every female, is squarely within biologically normal parameters.” [CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, 8/21/12]
Right-Wing Media Have Spread Misinformation To Promote The Myth Of The “Sex-Selection Abortion”
The Daily Caller: Republican Congressman Voted Against Bill To Prevent “Abortions On The Basis Of The Unborn Baby’s Race Or Gender.” In an August 3 article, The Daily Caller attacked Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) for voting against the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA). According to The Daily Caller, the bill was necessary to ban “abortions on the basis of the unborn baby’s race or gender.” Although The Daily Caller provided no evidence that such abortions were occurring in the United States, the article pointed to polling from an anti-choice group, the Susan B. Anthony List. which claimed that “77 percent of Americans approved of a ban on sex-selective abortions.” From The Daily Caller:
Republican New York Rep. Richard Hanna, who announced Tuesday he would be breaking ranks this November and voting for Hillary Clinton, has a lengthy history of siding against his party and standing with with one of Clinton’s staunchest allies — Planned Parenthood.
In May 2012, Hanna was one of seven House Republicans to vote against the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, which prohibited a abortions (sic) on the basis of the unborn baby’s race or gender. A poll released two weeks prior to the vote found that 77 percent of Americans approved of a ban on sex-selective abortions. [The Daily Caller, 8/3/16]
The Daily Signal Promoted Research “Provided Exclusively” By An Anti-Choice Group To Spread Myth That “Sex-Selection” Abortion “Is A Problem” In The U.S. Prior to a House Judiciary hearing about PRENDA, The Daily Signal promoted research “provided exclusively” to the outlet by the anti-choice Charlotte Lozier Institute to allege that “prenatal sex discrimination” abortion “is a problem.” The Daily Signal argued that PRENDA is necessary to “prohibit abortion based on sex” and would ensure punishment for anyone attempting “to perform an abortion knowing the procedure is sought based on the sex of the preborn child.” The outlet said the Lozier Institute study argued that “sex-selection abortion is the ‘real war on women.’” From The Daily Signal:
In advance of a Thursday House hearing on a measure that would ban abortions based on gender, a pro-life group published new research, provided exclusively to The Daily Signal, that suggests that prenatal sex discrimination “occurs globally” and is a problem, “including here in the United States.”
On Thursday, the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice will hold a hearing to debate the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, which would prohibit abortion based on sex. According to the bill’s counterpart in the Senate, the legislation imposes criminal penalties on anyone “who knowingly” performs “or knowingly attempts” to perform an abortion knowing the procedure is sought based on the sex of the preborn child.
Anna Higgins, an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, will testify for the Republican majority at Thursday’s hearing. During the hearing, Higgins will reference the new Lozier Institute study, which argues that sex-selection abortion is the “real war on women.” [The Daily Signal, 4/12/16]
Lifezette.com: “The Problem Of Sex-Selective Abortion” Exists In The United States. Lifezette.com -- an outlet run by conservative media commentator Laura Ingraham -- ran an article in April 2016 promoting the myth that the “problem of sex-selective abortion” also happens in the United States. In the article, Matt Hadro promoted research from the anti-choice Charlotte Lozier Institute to allege that action needs to be taken to prevent the alleged practice of “sex-selective abortion.” Beyond citing the anti-choice group’s data, Hadro also suggested that the risk of “sex-selective” abortion was increased by technological advances that are “helping parents determine the sex of their child at an early stage of pregnancy – giving them more power to abort their child if they prefer the other sex.” From Lifezette.com:
The problem of sex-selective abortion is not limited to China and India, but is increasing in communities within Western countries, a new report by the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute says.
“I think for a long time we’ve been denying that sex-selective abortion happens in the United States,” said Anna Higgins, J.D., associate scholar with the Charlotte Lozier Institute.
However, she told Catholic News Agency, “it does happen here.”
The overall demographics don’t reveal a national phenomenon of sex-selective abortion, Higgins maintained, but recent studies show that for third children in families – particularly in immigrant families with two daughters – the ratio spikes in favor of males. Any ratio above 106 boys to 100 girls is evidence of sex-selection, she suggested. [Lifezette.com, 4/18/16 ; Lifezette.com accessed 10/7/16]
Fox’s Bill O’Reilly Lobbied For A Bill “Outlawing Gender-Based Abortions” Using An Anti-Choice Group’s Debunked Smear Video. In 2012, the anti-choice group Live Action released a series of deceptive videos alleging to show Planned Parenthood employees involved in wrongdoing. Although these videos were debunked, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly cited the videos as proof that Planned Parenthood employees provide “gender-based abortion guidance.” O’Reilly further claimed that the videos proved lawmakers should support a bill “outlawing gender-based abortions” or else they would be “in sync with China’s abhorrent abortion policy,” referencing the country’s one-child policy. From the May 30, 2012, edition of The O’Reilly Factor:
BILL O'REILLY: Today, Planned Parenthood endorsed President Obama less than 24 hours after The Factor broadcast a shocking story showing a Planned Parenthood counselor in Texas advising a woman on how to abort her fetus if it turned out to be a girl.
O'REILLY: Now, there is no question that Planned Parenthood is a pro-abortion outfit, which has been in trouble for years. Undercover videos have documented underage abortions, abortion advice associated with prostitution, and now gender-based abortion guidance. Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will vote on outlawing gender-based abortions. We'll have special coverage on that.
And we'll name the names of congresspeople who vote against the bill, perhaps advising them they're in sync with China's abhorrent abortion policy. [Fox News Channel, The O'Reilly Factor, 5/30/12; Media Matters, 4/24/12]
TheBlaze: Anti-Choice Group’s Videos Show “Troubling Trend” Of “Sex-Selection Abortion” That Is “Happening Here In The United States Of America.” TheBlaze’s Billy Hallowell also invoked Live Action’s deceptive videos to argue there was a “troubling trend” of “sex-selection abortion” that is “happening here in the United States of America.” According to Hallowell, the “disturbing” footage demonstrated that Planned Parenthood employees were “completely unfazed” by the possibility of a patient’s “gender-based plans” and encouraged the practice. From TheBlaze:
Live Action, a pro-life group based in San Jose, California, went undercover to discover a troubling trend that is occurring across the globe — sex-selection abortion (the process of purposefully terminating a pregnancy based solely on the child’s gender). While this phenomenon is known to be occurring in China, among other nations, the organization claims that it’s also happening here in the United States of America.
It was in April 2012 that [Lila] Rose’s group investigated these abortion clinics to see what would happen if employees were asked about aborting based on gender. In part one, which was released this week, a Planned Parenthood employee named “Rebecca” can be seen speaking with the undercover woman, who makes it clear that she only wants to abort her child if, indeed, it is a female. [TheBlaze, 5/29/12]
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