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May 31, 2012Contact: Jeff Walton 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell
“Churches should be among the first to stand up for vulnerable baby girls.”-Mark Tooley, IRD President
Washington, DC—As the United States House of Representatives votes today on legislation to ban sex-selective abortions, the Institute on Religion and Democracy is asking why so many church groups have been silent about the practice. HR 3541, The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), has received support from the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and Roman Catholic groups including Priests for Life and Human Life International, but most other church lobbies and ecumenical groups are silent. PRENDA failed to pass on a 246-168 vote (a two-thirds majority was required to pass under suspension of the rules).
The 2008 General Conference of The United Methodist Church voted to “strongly condemn” sex-selective abortion “as a particularly lamentable and violent expression of sexism.” The denomination’s policy calls on “religious, government, and community leaders to proactively pursue humane means for stopping the practice of sex-selective abortion.” But the denomination's liberal Capitol Hill lobby is silent.
The U.S. Congress has already condemned gender selective abortion in China, but PRENDA is the first nationwide attempt to address the practice, which is already banned in Arizona, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.
Widespread sex-selective abortion has resulted in lopsided gender ratios in parts of China and especially India. Studies in India reveal that those families in higher income brackets and with greater access to education are the most likely to practice gender selective abortion.
IRD President Mark Tooley commented:
“Churches should be among the first to stand up for vulnerable baby girls. All human life is intrinsically valuable.
“Years of research have revealed serious instability in societies with lopsided gender ratios. The devaluation of women results in increased sex trafficking and more frequent instances of sexual violence.
“Consensus against gender selective abortion should be easy for churches. But where we should hear strong voices, there is mostly silence.”
The Institute on Religion & Democracy works to reaffirm the church's biblical and historical teachings, strengthen and reform its role in public life, protect religious freedom, and renew democracy at home and abroad.
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