Ban on sex selection abortions passes full House

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - There's a lot of work to be done, according to Rep. Walt Leger, to tweak legislation making sex selection abortion illegal.

"I'm going to vote for the bill, but this bill is severely flawed. Choosing to have an abortion because they don't like the sex of the child that is going to be born is repugnant and repulsive," said Rep. Leger, D-New Orleans.

Leger supports the concept of HB 701 put forward by Rep. Lenar Whitney, R-Houma.

It would add to Louisiana's 'Right to Know' law by mandating that doctors tell expecting mothers whether they're having a boy or a girl if the doctors can make that determination. However, that doctor could be sued up to $10,000 if the baby's father or a grandparent believes an abortion was based on gender, and that's raising legal questions.

"The mother could say, 'I didn't know what the sex of the baby was, but you're going to make sure that she can't do that," said Rep. Leger.

"We are not trying to create any new lawsuits. We really just want to protect the vulnerability of the woman," said Rep. Whitney, R-Houma.

"I would suggest that you take that part out of your bill," replied Rep. Leger.

Rep. Leger did, however, vote in favor. One of the just two 'nay' votes was Rep. Helena Moreno who raised concerns over which methods would be used to determine the baby's gender, some more invasive and riskier than others.

"Through determining sex, it can actually lead to more miscarriages," said Rep. Moreno, D-New Orleans.

"No, I don't think so," replied Rep. Whitney.

Rep. Moreno would later call it one of the most flawed bills she's ever seen via her Twitter account. Some other lawmakers applauded the measure.

"I can't believe we've passed two-dozen anti-abortion bills and we can still perform abortions. That just blows my mind," said Rep. Jack Montoucet, D-Crowley.

"At some point we all have to agree that some things are just wrong. Choosing to kill baby girls over baby boys is just wrong," said Rep. Whitney.

According to Rep. Whitney, the bill was influenced by reports of women in Asian countries choosing to abort baby girls.

In the US, seven states have similar laws in the books, but those measures are just restrictions because abortion is still legal through federal law.

Rep. Whitney's bill now heads to the Senate

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