Congress Votes Today on Bill Banning Sex-Selection Abortion

A bill that will make it illegal to abort a fetus because of its gender is expected to come before the House of Representatives this afternoon for a vote.

According to the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PreNDA), which was introduced by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) is finally ready for a vote. The House will consider the bill under “Suspension of the Rules,” which means that a two-thirds vote will be required for passage. The debate is expected around 2:30 PM EDT, and the vote will take place at about 7:00 PM EDT.

In a letter sent on Tuesday to House members, NRLC quotes the recent observation of political economist Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute: “In terms of its sheer toll in human numbers, sex-selective abortion has assumed a scale tantamount to a global war against baby girls.”

The letter also cites studies that indicate the practice is becoming increasingly prevalent in the U.S., particularly within communities of immigrants from Asia.

The bill would make it a federal offense, punishable by up to five years in federal prison, to knowingly do any one of the following four things: (1) perform an abortion, at any time in pregnancy, “knowing that such abortion is sought based on the sex or gender of the child”; (2) use “force or threat of force. . . for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection abortion”; (3) solicit or accept funds to perform a sex-selection abortion; or (4) transport a woman into the U.S. or across state lines for this purpose. However, “A woman upon whom a sex-selection abortion is performed may not be prosecuted or held civilly liable for any violation . . .”

Thanks to an undercover “sting” by the pro-life action group, Live Action, the issue of sex selection abortion gripped the nation’s attention this week after the group published a video showing Planned Parenthood’s willingness to offer an abortion to a woman who said she might need one if her baby was determined to be a girl rather than the boy she wanted.

Pro-abortion groups have responded to the ensuing public outrage by claiming the whole issue, including PreNDA, is a sneak attack on women’s rights. Others say it will impede the doctor-patient relationship and undermine Roe v. Wade.

“Anti-choice politicians are exploiting the very real problems of sex discrimination and gender inequity to launch a sneak attack on a woman’s right to choose,” said a post on the pro-abortion NARAL website. “It’s cynical and it’s disgusting.”

Conservative lawmakers disagree and say those who oppose the practice are waging the real “war on women.”

“This is the ultimate war on women, Mr. Speaker,” said Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (N.Y.) of sex-selective abortion. “There can be no rights for women if we do not allow them the right to life.”

NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson commented, “Those lawmakers who recently have embraced contrived political rhetoric asserting that they are resisting a ‘war on women’ must reflect on whether they now wish to be recorded as being defenders of the escalating war on baby girls.”
Pro-life groups are urging citizens to call their representatives today and urge them to support PreNDA.

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