The House of Representatives will consider the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, a bill to ban sex-selection abortions, next week. PRENDA was introduced by pro-life Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on February 16.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced today that Republicans have scheduled time for a debate and vote on the bill next week, on Wednesday, May 30. Because H. R. 3541 will be considered on the Suspension Calendar, a two-thirds majority will be necessary for passage.
With the international focus on Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese forced abortion opponent who recently escaped house arrest and was allowed to leave China for the United States after being jailed, beaten and confined to his home for exposing massive forced abortion campaigns, the bill is well-timed.
After the House committee approved the bill, Frank said, “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 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.”
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.”
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.
Previously, abortion advocates not only opposed the bill in great hysteria but also denied the very existence of sex selection abortions. Nancy Northup, President of the Center for Reproductive Rights, called it a “trumped up bill for a trumped up problem.” Meanwhile at the pro-abortion blog Jezebel, a writer called sex selection abortions “a problem rampant only in its rampant nonexistence.”
In the debate over Oklahoma’s ban on sex selection abortion, Mary Spaulding Balch, State Legislative Director for the National Right to Life Committee, said, “So-called ‘pro-choice’ feminists will show their true colors if they oppose sex selection abortion bans since the world knows ‘sex selection’ is code for ‘search and destroy’ unborn females.”
Despite the virtue of equality that the United States heralds around the world, it remains one of just a few Western nations not to prohibit abortion when based exclusively on the gender of the unborn child, according to the Center for Genetics and Society. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom all have laws banning sex selection abortions.
A new poll conducted by the Lozier Institute found that 77% of respondents would support the enactment of laws prohibiting abortion in cases where “the fact that the developing baby is a girl is the sole reason for seeking an abortion.” Illinois, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Arizona already have laws on the books which prohibit this practice, according to the Lozier Institute.
Meanwhile, a 2006 poll showed a majority of Americans would likely support the bill. A 2006 Zogby International poll showed that 86% of the American public desired 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.
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“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.