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Stupid Bill Banning Prenatal Racism Passes Out of Committee

Illustration for article titled Stupid Bill Banning Prenatal Racism Passes Out of Committee

In yet another example of all the brilliant job creating the Republican-led Congress has been doing since regaining control of the House, Arizona Representative Trent Franks's "Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act" has made it out of committee— without its terrible name. But even without the absurd implication that women choose abortion because they're racist or hate women, the bill's incredibly dishonest and unnecessary.

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The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, or PreNDA for short, was introduced by Franks to address the nonexistent problem of abortion that occurs on the basis of fetal race or sex. If enacted, the bill would bar medical professionals from performing abortions that they suspect were being performed because of racism or sexism. It would also require doctors and nurses to report instances of race or sex-selective abortion.

At no point did Representative Franks address the sexism inherent in a man trying to legislate how women are allowed to behave with their bodies.

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As with everything stupid, serious unanswered questions remain about PreNDA. For example, as a white lady in a long term relationship with a white guy, could I be accused of being racist against white people if I opted to terminate an unplanned pregnancy? Could a doctor accuse me of embodying liberal guilt? Of course not. PreNDA would subject minority women in vulnerable populations to the racist paternalism of the state and make it more difficult for them to access health care.

Second, while sex-selective abortion is commonplace in places like India and China, there's no evidence to suggest that it's occurring here with any regularity ("evidence" in this case would be a lopsided ratio of baby boys born compared to baby girls). It's just another attempt by the anti-abortion rights set to somehow paint the choice to terminate a pregnancy as evil in every possible way.

To further complicate matters, there's no test in existence that prenatally identifies race, unless there's some way we can analyze the amniotic fluid to determine whether or not the fetus will one day develop into someone who likes Jimmy Buffett (white). There's also no test to identify whether or not someone is having an abortion because of racist or sexist reasons (apart from them coming right out and telling their doctor "Man, I sure hate Chinese people. That's why I, a person who is either Chinese or sleeping with a Chinese dude, wants to abort this Chinese baby.) The law is both unnecessary and impossible to enforce.

The committee was split down party lines regarding HR 3541— all 20 Republicans voted for it to proceed to the General Assembly and all 13 Democrats voted against it. It'll probably pass in the House, then lose in the Senate or be vetoed by the President, once again showcasing the Republican's breathtaking ability to waste everyone's time.

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House committee okays bill to outlaw abortions based on race, gender [Boston Herald]

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DISCUSSION

mbauser
Michael Bauser

You've all missed the worst part of this bill: It's a stealth men's rights law. Check this out:

(2) CIVIL ACTION BY RELATIVES- The father of an unborn child who is the subject of an abortion performed or attempted in violation of subsection (a), or a maternal grandparent of the unborn child if the pregnant woman is an unemancipated minor, may in a civil action against any person who engaged in the violation, obtain appropriate relief, unless the pregnancy resulted from the plaintiff's criminal conduct or the plaintiff consented to the abortion.

AND

(A) IN GENERAL- A qualified plaintiff may in a civil action obtain injunctive relief to prevent an abortion provider from performing or attempting further abortions in violation of this section.

Yeah, any man who's upset that his girlfriend wants an abortion just has to say it was discrimination, and he can sue to block the procedure, or sue the provider afterwards. (The man can also, apparently, sue anybody who gives the woman a ride to an out-of-state clinic, or helps pay for the abortion.)

This is a law designed to scare abortion providers out of performing procedures unless the patient has a permission slip from her man.

Full text: [thomas.loc.gov]