For House Republicans, this year has been the year of outlandish answers to non-existent problems. And tomorrow, they will offer the magnum opus of their 2011 campaign against a woman’s right to choose: the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA). The bill seeks to somehow protect the “civil rights” of fetuses by banning physicians from performing abortions based on the fetus’s race or sex. While the woman would be exempt from prosecution, physicians who perform the procedure can be sued for damages.
Tomorrow, the measure will enter the spotlight in the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, as will the man behind the effort: GOP Rep. Trent Franks (AZ). His chief motivation, he told the Daily Caller, is to solely to end discrimination, or as his chief proponents argue, the genocide of minority fetuses:
According to Franks, a ban on these types of abortions is needed because minority babies are aborted at five times the rate of white babies and, based on a 2008 report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S. Census data shows that certain populations have ‘son-biased” ratios due to “sex selection, most likely at the prenatal stages.”[…]
“People will say I have a greater agenda — and they are right — I hope for a day when all children, regardless of race or color, all children because they are children will be protected,” he said.
“But right now regardless of what the long term impact of this might be the short term impact is very simple: Can we not agree that aborting a child based on a child’s race or sex is wrong?”
The act of such selective abortion would be a problem worth addressing if it was actually a problem. In his own state of Arizona (which recently passed a statewide version of this bill), not one state official or independent search offered any support for the claim that women abort babies based on race. What’s more, not only have the number of baby girls born increased since abortion became legal but only 5 percent of abortions take place beyond the point when a fetus’s sex can be determined. In reality, rather than addressing any verifiable prejudice, the bill actually exacerbates the discrimination Franks claims to be targeting.
The real reasons behind high abortion rates among African Americans and minorities are complex. Higher rates of unintended pregnancies, inadequate health insurance, substandard health care, ineffective use of birth control, and poor sex education often leave abortion as the only choice for women. The chief reason behind abortions is unintended pregnancy, not unwanted race or sex.