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Washington lawmakers consider bill to outlaw abortion based on gender

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Olympia – Washington state is among a handful of states this year where lawmakers are seeking to ban abortions sought because of the gender of a fetus.

Senate Bill 6612, sponsored by Republican Sen. Ann Rivers of La Center, has a public hearing on Tuesday morning.

The bill would make it a Class C felony, carrying a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine, for a doctor to knowingly perform or attempt an abortion sought solely because of the sex of the fetus.  A physician would also face losing his or her medical license.

Seven states currently ban sex-selection abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights advocacy group.  According to the National Conference of State Legislature, at least four other states, in addition to Washington, have introduced similar measures this year:  Indiana, Oregon, West Virginia and Missouri.