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NEWS BRIEFS: Arizona becomes first state to ban sex- & race-based abortions

PHOENIX (BP)–Arizona has become the first state to outlaw abortions performed on the basis of the sex or race of an unborn child.

Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law March 29 legislation that makes the performance of a sex- or raced-based abortion a felony. A doctor who performs such a procedure could receive as much as a seven-year prison sentence and lose his medical license, according to ABC News.

Matthew Benson, spokesman for Brewer, said the governor “believes society has a responsibility to protect its most vulnerable — the unborn — and this legislation is consistent with her strong pro-life track record,” ABC reported.

Critics charged the law is unnecessary, saying sex-selection abortions may occur in other countries but there is no evidence they take place in Arizona. China is the most infamous example of a country plagued by sex-selection abortions. That country’s coercive, one-child policy has produced a huge gender imbalance that social scientists say will result in an estimated 30 to 40 million more marriage-age men than women by 2020.

Supporters of the measure could point, however, to a 2008 study by Cornell University economists Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund. Their research found American-born children of Chinese, Korean and Asian Indian parents were more likely than those of white parents to be boys if the first children in the families were girls, according to ABC. The third child in such communities was 50 percent more likely to be a boy if the first two children were girls. The study suggested those statistics provide evidence sex-selection abortion is being practiced in such communities, the researchers said.

The Arizona law makes sense, Edlund told ABC.

“Our society does not think it’s OK to abort based on sex,” she said.

CIVIL UNIONS DEFEATED IN COLO. BUT ADVANCE IN DEL. — A bill that would have legalized same-sex civil unions in Colorado was defeated in a Republican-controlled House committee March 31 by a vote of 6-5, one week after it passed the Democratic-controlled Senate, 23-12. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper supported it. The bill would have granted homosexual couples all the legal benefits of marriage except the name. Opponents called it “gay marriage by another name.” They also said it defied the will of voters, who in 2006 defeated a ballot proposal that would have legalized something nearly identical.

Meanwhile, a Delaware Senate committee approved a civil unions bill March 30, with four Democrats favoring it and two Republicans not taking a position.

Other states — such as Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut — have seen civil unions used as a stepping stone to “gay marriage” legalization.

WASH. STATE SOON TO RECOGNIZE OUT-OF-STATE GAY MARRIAGES — The Washington state Senate has sent legislation to the governor that would recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Democrat Gov. Chris Gregoire is expected to sign the bill, which passed the House in March. “The other side is never going to turn down an opportunity to promote the idea that there is no difference between a heterosexual and a homosexual relationship,” said Joseph Backholm, executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington. “The church in Washington state and in much of the country is afraid of having this conversation. … A lot of people are not willing to stand up and say what is true on this issue.”

LOUISVILLE CRACKS DOWN ON STRIP CLUBS — Law enforcement officials in Louisville have cited three sexually oriented businesses under an ordinance that took effect this year. About 25 of the area’s sex shops had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to come to their rescue in their seven-year fight against the regulations but the court refused. The ordinance eliminates alcohol sales and all-nude dancing, and forces strip club owners and employees to pay licensing fees. Daniel Weiss, director of research and national outreach at ROCK, said years of hard work by family advocates are paying off. “Citizens stood strong,” he said. “The City Council stood strong, and now they’re starting to clean up their city. Communities need to realize that they can pass very strong, constitutionally sound ordinances. And they can start doing that today.”
Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief of Baptist Press, and Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press. The Washington state and Louisville briefs are from the World News Service.

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