Arkansas House Approves 'Sex-Selection' Abortion Ban

Feb 14, 2017

FIle photo of Rep. Charlie Collins speaking on the House floor in April 2016.
Credit Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

With very little discussion, the Arkansas House of Representatives approved a bill that bans abortions based solely on whether a woman wants to give birth to a boy or a girl.

The "sex-selection" bill – which opponents say is unconstitutional – was approved Tuesday by a vote of 79-3, with 6 Democrats voting present. It now heads to the Senate.

Rep. Charlie Collins, a Republican of Fayetteville, was the bill’s sponsor and called it the "right thing to do."

"The way the bill operates is if a woman goes for an abortion, the doctor simply asks her, 'do you know the sex of the child?' And if the answer is no, things proceed to pace. If answer is yes, then the doctor informs her that it's illegal in Arkansas to do that, which I think might have a prophalactic effect, actually," Collins said.

Doctors convicted under the proposal could face up to a year in jail or a fine of up to $2,5000. No one spoke on the House floor against the bill. 

Collins acknowledged it might not be much of an issue today.

"You can't even discover the sex of a child until you're almost to the point of Supreme Court-recognized viability anyway. Well, those technologies are changing," Collins said. "I'm already hearing about tests that can start to determine the sex of a child at say nine weeks and, you know, three years, five years, 10 years from now, who knows where this will be."