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House Panel OKs Bill to Ban Sex-Selection, Race-Based Abortions

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/17/12 1:54 PM

National

A U.S. House committee yesterday approved 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.

Franks praised yesterday’s passage of H.R. 3541, the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act (or PRENDA) through the House Judiciary Committee by a 20-13 vote. The legislation prohibits  abortions performed on the basis of the child’s sex or race. It also outlaws the coercion of any woman to abort a child based on the child’s sex- or race.

Franks said, “In 1847, Frederick Douglass said, ‘Right is of no sex; truth is of no color, God is the Father of us all–and all are brethren. The very bedrock foundational principle that gave birth to America was the conviction that all human beings are children of God and created equal in His sight.”

“As Americans, all of us know in our hearts that aborting a little baby because he or she happens to be the ‘wrong color’ or because or she is a little girl instead of a little boy is fundamentally wrong, and represents a betrayal of the precious truth that all human beings are created equal, with the Imago Dei stamped on their souls,” Franks continued.

He added, “I know when the subject is related in any way to abortion, the doors of reason and human compassion in our minds and hearts often close, and the humanity of the unborn and the inhumanity of what is being done to them can sometimes no longer be seen. But this is the civil rights battle that will define our generation. At the very least, we should be able to agree that allowing the lives of unborn children to be torn from them simply because they happen to be the ‘wrong color’ or the ‘wrong sex’ is not who we are as Americans.”

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.

The NAACP has come under fire from pro-life advocates for opposing the legislation.

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 his group 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.