Before GOP leaders bring up the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) under a suspension of House rules, which will require two-thirds majority for passage, anti-choice organizations have been lobbying for it. In a clumsy attempt to subvert the War on Women meme, the National Right to Life Committee warned members of Congress against supporting a “war on baby girls“:
Of course, pro-life Members will support this legislation. But it is to be hoped that even many Members who deem themselves “pro-choice” will recoil at the notion that” freedom of choice” must include even the choice to abort a little unborn girl, merely because she is a girl. Members who recently have embraced contrived political rhetoric asserting they are resisting a “war on women” must reflect on whether they wish to be recorded as being defenders of the escalating war on baby girls.
Rather than addressing inequality, PRENDA would exacerbate sex and race discrimination by targeting women of color from communities associated with sex selection whom doctors might suspect of wanting to have a prohibited abortion. In February, the bill passed the House Judiciary committee with only Republican support. After the committee vote, House Judiciary Committee ranking member John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) said it “would require doctors to police their patients, undermining patient-doctor privilege” and violating a woman’s right to privacy guaranteed by Roe v. Wade.
When he introduced the bill, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) said he supported stopping sex-selective abortions because “U.S. Census data shows that certain populations have ‘son-biased’ ratios” and the abortion rate is five times higher for minorities. But Franks’ bill does nothing to address the actual issues behind the high unintended pregnancy rate in minority communities, like substandard health care and poor sex education, that lead to the higher abortion rate among women of color.
PRENDA would do nothing to eliminate sex discrimination in the U.S., and will only add additional, unnecessary barriers to abortion care. If House Republicans really wanted to promote equal rights for women, they would support bills like the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.