A U.S. congressman has reintroduced legislation that would ban sex-selection or race-based abortions. Congressman Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican who is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, has brought back the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act.
The measure would prohibit knowingly performing or financing sex-selection or race-based abortions. Franks has said the bill is needed because abortions on black babies are done at much higher rates than abortions on babies of other races.
“[T]he Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, or “PRENDA,” … restricts sex-selection abortion and race-selection abortion, and the coercion of a woman to obtain either. The woman seeking an abortion is exempted from prosecution, while abortion providers are held to account,” wrote Franks in a letter to colleagues on Monday.
“Sex-selection abortion is happening in the United States. A study published in the April 2008 Journal of the National Academy of Sciences shows through U.S. Census data that certain segments of the U.S. population – particularly those coming from countries that practice sex-selection abortion – have unnaturally skewed sex-ratios at birth caused by sex-selection ‘most likely at the prenatal stages,’” Franks added.
Franks also noted that abortion centers are disproportionately placed in African-American communities and he pointed out that Planned Parenthood has come under fire for accepting donations from people claiming to want the abortion business to target blacks.
“Following the unearthing of the nation-wide race-targeted abortion donations, civil rights activists and African-American pastors from across the country protested government acquiescence in race-targeted abortion and the government funding of clinics that they believe are purposefully placed in the inner city and targeted to minority women,” he said.
A few years ago, a national study showed the possibility that the practice of sex-selection abortions has made its way from Asia to the United States. Researchers Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund of the National Academy of Sciences say their analysis of the 2000 Census shows the odds prematurely increasing for Asian-American families from China, Korea and India to have a boy if they already have a girl child.
The data “suggest that in a sub-population with a traditional son preference, the technologies are being used to generate male births when preceding births are female,” they wrote in the paper.
Meanwhile, a 2006 poll showed a majority of Americans would likely support the bill. A 2006 Zogby International poll shows that 86% of the American public desires a law to ban sex selection abortion. The poll surveyed a whopping 30,117 respondents in 48 states.
Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International, said today he supports the bill.
“While we should strive to end abortion in all circumstances, this legislation is an important and welcome step,” he said. “Every human life is sacred, but to specifically target the unborn based on race or gender for destruction magnifies the inherit evil of abortion, and fosters an even greater prejudice toward life itself.”
The Alliance Defense Fund, a pro-life law firm, worked with Franks’ staff on a previous version of the measure.
“No one should be allowed to decide that an innocent life is worthless, least of all because a child isn’t of the preferred sex or race,” ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven Aden told LifeNews.com. “There is nothing constitutionally protected or medically necessary about an abortion that takes place because a child is not the preferred sex or race. And there is nothing in the law or the Constitution that prohibits America from joining other civilized nations in prohibiting such barbaric procedures,” he said.
“ADF commends Rep. Franks for his leadership in affirming the rule of law’s protection for every American, regardless of race or gender, beginning in the womb,” said Aden in 2009 when it was previously introduced.
The bill will be formally introduced today and Franks’s letter to congressional colleagues lists 18 current cosponsors of the bill, including Representatives Aderholt (R-Ala.), Akin (R-Mo.), Bartlett (R-Md.), Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Burton (R-Ind.), Crawford (R-Ark.), Duncan (R-Tenn.), Forbes (R-Va.), Fortenberry (R-Neb.), Garrett (R-N.J.), Harris (R-Md.), Jones (R-N.C.), King (R-Iowa), Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Lipinski (D-Ill.), Pearce (R-N.M.), Pence (R-Ind.), Schmidt (R-Ohio), Smith (R-Texas) and Westmoreland (R-Ga.).
“A `sex-selection abortion’ is an abortion undertaken for purposes of eliminating an unborn child of an undesired sex. Sex-selection abortion is barbaric, and described by scholars and civil rights advocates as an act of sex-based or gender-based violence, predicated on sex discrimination,” according to the 2009 version of the bill. “By definition, sex-selection abortions do not implicate the health of the mother of the unborn, but instead are elective procedures motivated by sex or gender bias.”
Similarly, “A `race-selection abortion’ is an abortion performed for purposes of eliminating an unborn child because the child or a parent of the child is of an undesired race. Race-selection abortion is barbaric, and described by civil rights advocates as an act of race-based violence, predicated on race discrimination.”