New: Replacing Myths with Facts: Sex-Selective Abortion Laws in the United States

By Sital Kalantry

Laws banning sex-selective abortion are proliferating in the United States. Eight states have enacted laws prohibiting sex-selective abortion. Twenty-one states and the federal government have considered such laws since 2009. Those laws prohibit the performance of an abortion if sought based on the sex of the fetus and provide for both criminal and civil penalties in most cases. A great deal of misinformation exists regarding sex selection in the United States. In this report, we have identified six inaccuracies commonly associated with sex-selective abortion and laws prohibiting it. They appear, among other places, in statements made by legislators, testimony submitted to legislatures, and reports issued by legislative committees that have considered or adopted laws banning sex-selective abortion. This Report draws on legal research, empirical analysis of U.S. birth data, field-work, and an extensive review of scholarly publications in social sciences, law and other disciplines to ...

Sital Kalantry Clinical Professor of Law
Photo of Sital Kalantry

Contact Information

Cornell Law School
235 Hughes Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901

Phone: (607) 255-5885
Fax: (607) 255-3269


Megan Olivares
Cornell Law School
249 Hughes Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901

Professional Biography

Sital Kalantry is a Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the International Human Rights Policy Advocacy Clinic, and Co-Director of the Migration and Human Rights Program at Cornell Law School. She is an expert in international human rights and her scholarship focuses on gender and education rights, particularly within the context of India and the United States. In her book, Women’s Human Rights and Migration, she uses empirical, comparative, and critical race studies approaches to critique the legislative process and mainstream discourse regarding sex-selective abortion bans in the United States.

Her writings have been published in top peer-reviewed and American and international journals, including the Human Rights Quarterly, the National Law Journal, and the Stanford Journal of International Law, and the Nordic Journal of Human Rights.

In addition to her scholarly work, she conducts international human rights advocacy and litigation. She has testified before the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, submitted party and amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Federal Appellate Courts, European Court of Human Rights, Indian High Courts, and the Colombian Constitutional Court and has lead fact-finding teams on several trips to India, Colombia, and Argentina to conduct research in connection with the publication of human rights reports.

Kalantry has been invited to deliver numerous talks and presentations around the world. She has received many awards and grants for her work, including a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Scholar grant to conduct research in India on the Indian Supreme Court and helping to secure a $1.5 million dollar grant to establish a center focused on women and justice.

She serves as a peer-reviewer for several human rights journals and is on the editorial board of the Jindal Global Law Review and the Maharashtra National University Law Review. Kalantry is a member of the lawyers advisory committee of Peace Brigades International and served on the International Human Rights Committee of the New York City Bar Association. She is fluent in Hindi and conversant in Spanish.


B.A. 1994, Cornell University
Masters in Development Studies 1995, London School of Economics
J.D. 1998, University of Pennsylvania Law School