Legislation proposed by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) that would ban sex-selection or race-based abortions perpetuates stereotypes about immigrants and minorities, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Franks introduced the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011 (PRENDA) to the U.S. House last week. The legislation could subject a doctor to up to five years in prison for failing to determine if race or sex is a factor in a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy.
“No woman’s reproductive choices should be subjected to more scrutiny or control based on her racial or ethnic background,” NARAL’s national president Nancy Keenan said. “Nor should women be stigmatized for their choices. These efforts represent cynical politics at their worst, and are out of touch with our nation’s values and priorities.”
The bill claims that Americans from countries where sex-selection abortion is prevalent are practicing “female feticide” in the United States, and warns that it is causing “an unnatural sex-ratio imbalance.”
“Experts worldwide document that a significant sex-ratio imbalance in which males numerically predominate can be a cause of increased violence and militancy within a society,” the bill states.
“The Franks bill exploits the very real problems of racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination while failing to offer any genuine solutions that would eliminate disparities in health care access and information,” Keenan continued. “Rather than attacking a woman’s right to choose, lawmakers with a sincere interest in addressing racism and gender bias should support policies that work to combat the bias and stereotypes that continue to plague our society.”
The group also noted that Franks has voted against the equal-pay bill, voted not to extend the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and backed efforts to cut funding for prenatal care and contraception.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore