Arkansas has moved one major step closer to enacting a bill that bans abortions that are committed because of the sex of the child.
The state House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of House Bill 1434, also called the "Sex Discrimination by Abortion Prohibition Act."
Filed earlier this month by Republican Representative Charlie Collins, HB 1434 received 79 yeas, 3 nays, 12 "not voting", and 6 "present."
"A physician or other person shall not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion with the knowledge that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely on the basis of the sex of the unborn child," reads HB 1434.
"A physician or other person who knowingly performs or attempts to perform an abortion prohibited by this subchapter is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor."
The bill also noted that with sex-selective abortions, the aborted babies are "are overwhelmingly female" and that "The United States [already] prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in various areas including employment, education, athletics, and health insurance."
"Because abortions performed solely based on the sex of a child are generally performed later in pregnancy, women undergoing these abortions are unnecessarily exposed to increased health risks, including an exponentially higher risk of death," noted HB 1434.
"A woman is ninety-one (91) times more likely to die from an abortion performed at twenty-one (21) weeks' gestation or later than she would have been had the abortion been performed in the first trimester."
Defined as being an abortion performed because the sex of the unborn baby was considered undesirable, sex-selective abortion is considered by some, including those who call themselves pro-choice, to be an anti-female action.
In an interview with David Letterman in 2014, former President Jimmy Carter said that sex-selective abortion and infanticide of female babies was the "worst human rights abuse on earth."
"160 million girls are now missing from the face of the earth because they were murdered at birth by their parents or either selectively aborted when their parents find out that the fetus is a girl," said Carter.
"Well, it's the worst human rights abuse on earth and it's basically unaddressed ... So, that many people are missing and they're all girls who are missing."
Carter also linked the issue of infanticide and sex-selective abortion to the international slave trade, explaining that, with the absence of women, many men "buy brides."
"15 years ago there was an accurate assessment in China and 50 million were already missing there because the Chinese government had mandated one-is-best, two-is-most, and then India has had the same problem with them, and in many other countries as well," continued Carter.
"So now, for instance in China and India and South Korea and some other countries, young men can't find brides to marry, so they buy brides and that increases the amount of slavery that exists on earth."
The bill is not without its critics, as one Planned Parenthood of the Greats Plains state lobbyist told a local media outlet that HB 1434 would be hard to enforce.
"This bill is not about preventing any kind of gender discrimination ... It places the doctor in a position of being an investigator and the woman a suspect," explained the lobbyist.