The Prenatal Discrimination Act (PRENDA) was introduced by Arizona representative Trent Franks, who believes that sex-selection abortions, also known as gendercide, are occurring in the U.S. and must be stopped. The bill was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on February 16th, and is currently being debated on the House floor. Under its regulations, abortionists who assist in terminating a woman’s pregnancy based on her gender preference would face five years in jail as well as monetary fines. Abortion facilities that violate PRENDA will also lose their federal funding.
While some say that the bill is necessary to ensure that practices such as those in China are not allowed to occur in America, others state that the law furthers the “war on women.”
“The Republican majority continues its war on women in a new and creative way: by attempting to couch legislation that would destroy women’s fundamental constitutional rights as a woman’s rights law. It is cynical, but creative,” stated Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York. “The preference for male children is a real, if limited, phenomenon in the United States. Some women face familial and community preference to have male children, and that pressure can increase with each subsequent birth. But this does nothing to help those women.”
Jim McDermott of Washington State agrees.
“It is another Republican intrusion into a woman’s right to choose,” he said. “Women should be able to make such sensitive and private decisions with their families, their doctors and their God, free from the fear of the police.”
However, Representative Franks explained that he is ashamed that the United States has left sex-selection abortions unrestricted for so long.
“This evil practice has now allowed thousands of little girls in America, and millions of little girls across the world, to be brutally dismembered, most of them in their second or third trimester, when they’re capable of feeling extreme pain, simply because they were little girls instead of little boys,” he stated. “It has now brought humanity to a place where the three deadliest words on this earth are, ‘it’s a girl.’ ”
While a federal ban has not yet been passed, four states in America currently outlaw sex-selection abortions: Pennsylvania, Illinois, Oklahoma and Arizona.
The vote on the Prenatal Discrimination Act comes just days after the pro-life group Live Action released an undercover video from the state of Texas, where a Planned Parenthood employee advised a woman posing as being pregnant how to obtain a sex-selection abortion. The woman explained to the employee that she did not yet know if she was having a boy or girl, and wanted to schedule a late-term abortion if the baby’s gender was female. After the Planned Parenthood worker provided information on how to terminate the child’s life, she stated to the woman, “I do hope that you get your boy.”
The arrival of blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng to the United States also has some thinking about the issue of gendercide, as Guangcheng has spent many years fighting against the practice in China.
PRENDA needs a two-thirds majority vote to pass. If successful, it will move to the senate for a vote.