Gender-Based Abortion Ban Falls Short of Needed Votes

A bill in the United States House of Representatives was defeated this week that would have outlawed sex-selection abortions.

While the final vote was 246 to 168, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) failed to obtain the two-thirds majority needed for passage by a mere 30 votes. Although most votes were cast along party lines, twenty Democrats split with their party to favor the ban, and seven Republicans voted against the measure. Seven others decided not to vote.

One of the most visible Republicans that rejected the gender-based ban was Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. Paul, a former OB-GYN, recently explained on the House floor why he would not be voting in support of the bill.

“I have long believed that abortion opponents make a mistake by spending their energies on a futile quest to make abortion a federal crime,” he stated. “Instead, pro-life Americans should work to undo Roe v. Wade and give the power to restrict abortion back to the states and the people. … Nowhere in [the Constitution] is Congress given any authority to address abortion in any manner.”

However, national pro-life groups such as Personhood USA strongly disagree with Paul’s philosophy.

“The right to life is firmly enshrined in in the Declaration of Independence, the preamble to the Constitution, and the 5th and 14th Amendments,” it stated. “If in fact our right to life comes from God, not government, and we acknowledge that ‘to secure these rights governments are instituted among men,’ how can Rep. Ron Paul adhere simultaneously to the theory that entire states in this union may trespass with impunity upon these fundamental rights while maintaining that these rights are unalienable?”

“No state and no government has the power to legalize murder, as that would be a violation of the unalienable right to life granted by God to those beings made in His image and likeness,” it added.

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There are currently four states in America that ban sex-selection abortion: Pennsylvania, Illinois, Arizona and Oklahoma.

Other Republicans that opposed the measure were Justin Amash of Michigan, Charles Bass of New Hampshire, Mary Bono Mack of California, and Richard Hana and Nan Hayworth of New York.

On the other hand, Democrats that voted in favor of the ban included Jason Altimire, Mark Critz and Tim Holden of Pennsylvania, Jerry Costello and Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, and Larry Kissel, Mike McIntyre and Heath Shuler of North Carolina.

White House press secretary Jay Carney stated that the Obama administration opposed PRENDA because abortionists would have to ascertain why a woman was obtaining an abortion.

“The administration opposes gender discrimination in all forms, but the end result of this legislation would be to subject doctors to criminal prosecution if they fail to determine the motivations behind a very personal and private decision,” he said.

However, Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey explained that the ban is necessary, citing that the nation’s allowance of sex-selection abortion is not only affecting our own country, but others as well. He pointed to a report which outlined that women from Canada cross the border to obtain sex-selection abortions in the United States.

“The United States is a destination country for sex-selection abortion,” he stated. “Sex-selection abortion is cruel and discriminatory and legal. It is violence against women. Most people in and out of government remain woefully unaware of the fact that sex-selection abortion was a violent, nefarious and deliberate policy imposed on the world by the pro-abortion population control movement—it’s not an accident. The Congress can—and must—defend women from this vicious assault today.”

Sponsors of the bill vow to introduce the measure again at a later time.

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