Under the Dome

Bill would prohibit sex-selection abortions

It would be illegal to perform abortions because of the sex of the fetus, under a bill filed in the state House on Wednesday.

The legislation – which has a significant chance of advancing, since it was filed by a member of the Republican leadership – would allow doctors to be sued for damages if they perform sex-selection abortions.

The bill also would allow people to seek court injunctions preventing doctors and other health-care providers from performing those abortions. Contempt of court violations of an injunction would carry a $10,000 fine the first time, a $50,000 fine the next time, and a $100,000 fine for each subsequent violation.

Not only could the pregnant woman sue a doctor, but a lawsuit could also be brought by her spouse, her parents, her siblings, a guardian or her own health-care provider.

House Bill 716’s primary sponsors are Republicans Rep. Ruth Samuelson of Charlotte, who is the deputy conference leader, Rep. Pat McElraft of Emerald Isle, and freshmen Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer of Charlotte and Rep. Rena Turner of Olin.

Earlier this year, House Speaker Pro Tem Paul “Skip” Stam of Apex told an anti-abortion rally in Raleigh that a bill prohibiting sex-selection abortions was being written. He said it was wrong for women to receive abortions for any reason.

Update: A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood says the bill would be an intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship, and put physicians into an investigative role rather than one that provides nonjudgmental, high-quality care.

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