By Nicole Catá, Policy Intern
On June 1st, 2010, the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project and Law Students for Reproductive Justice co-hosted a series of panels and discussions called the 2010 Summer Intern Training on Reproductive Rights Law & Justice. Around 20 students attended the event, which explored current trends in the reproductive justice movement from a legal perspective. The first, and perhaps the most controversial, activity was called “Next Wave of Abortion Restrictions: Banning Abortions Based on the Sex or Race of the Fetus.” Miriam Yeung, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, and Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, Staff Attorney for the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, explained that conservative legislators such as Congressman Trent Franks, R-Ariz., are pushing sex and race selection abortion bans in federal and state legislatures.
Given the controversial nature of these proposals, the presenters decided to have each participant stand along a line representing a continuum based on how strongly he or she agreed or disagreed with a particular statement. It seemed that none of us could come to a consensus about any of the questions: Does sex-selection abortion rely on or enforce gender stereotypes? Is it natural to want to balance sex representation in a family? Is choosing the sex or physical characteristics of a fetus any different from stating one’s preferences on an adoption form? Many of us stood somewhere in the middle of the continuum, floundering between a simple “yes” or “no.”