Roe v. Wade and Sex-Selective Abortion

Except for the most diehard “pro-choice” activists, just about everyone believes that sex-selective abortion — effectively, killing an unborn girl because she’s a girl — is wrong.

But under the regime ushered in by Roe v. Wade, in which abortion for any reason is legally permissible, would a ban on sex-selective abortion pass constitutional muster?

That’s the question pondered by pro-life law professor Michael Stokes Paulsen in a fascinating article this week in Public Discourse:

If abortion merely removes unwanted tissue, its gender does not matter. But if gender matters, it must be because the unborn living being in the womb is already a human child, not merely “potential” life. The issue of sex-selection abortion thus challenges the very “it”-ness of the living human embryo or fetus killed by abortion—the implicit non-humanity of the fetus that underlies most arguments for allowing abortion. It is a girl or a boy—a member of the human family, albeit an extremely vulnerable one, whose life hangs in the balance. Acknowledge the humanity of the fetus and the regime of Roe collapses.

Prof. Paulsen goes on to say there is “no better litmus test issue over life” and no better time for pressing this issue than during an election year:

In making this specific issue, sex-selection abortion, the pressure point of political and legal debate, and of public discourse over the constitutional status of abortion rights, we can frame the discussion in terms most favorable to the pro-life stance, most persuasive to those who are undecided or uncommitted, and most uncomfortable for defenders of the extreme pro-abortion status quo. The result of any test case, down the road, very likely turns on whether President Obama has a chance to make further appointments to the Court.

Read the whole thing here.

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