House Considers Dishonest Abortion Bill

House Considers Dishonest Abortion Bill December 8, 2011

The latest bit of ridiculous mendacity from the wingnuts in the House is the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), a trojan horse bill that prohibits abortions undertaken on the basis of race or gender. At best it’s a solution in search of a problem; in reality, it’s just another attempt to undermine reproductive rights.

The bill contains a whole lot of boilerplate language about how terrible discrimination on the basis of race and gender is — amusing coming from those who only seem to care about it when it come to fetuses — but not a single shred of evidence that anyone is actually having an abortion because of the race or gender of the baby.

A `race-selection abortion’ is an abortion performed for purposes of eliminating an unborn child because the child or a parent of the child is of an undesired race. Race-selection abortion is barbaric, and described by civil rights advocates as an act of race-based violence, predicated on race discrimination. By definition, race-selection abortions do not implicate the health of mother of the unborn, but instead are elective procedures motivated by race bias.

Uh. Okay. But do you have any evidence that anyone has ever aborted a fetus because of its race? No? Then you really should STFU. They don’t even pretend to have evidence that anyone has ever done such a thing. They note that non-white women have abortions at about 5 times the rate of white women; even assuming that’s true, it does nothing to support the idea that anyone is aborting a fetus because of its race. Amusingly, the bill gives the woman who chooses an abortion the right to sue if the abortion was done for racial reasons:

(1) CIVIL ACTION BY WOMAN ON WHOM THE ABORTION IS PERFORMED- A woman upon whom an abortion has been performed or attempted in violation of subsection (a)(2), may in a civil action against any person who engaged in the violation obtain appropriate relief.

But women aren’t forced to have an abortion, they choose to do so. Do they really think that a minority woman is choosing to have an abortion because they don’t want a child that is their race? Do they think that a woman would have sex with someone of another race, then have an abortion just because the baby might be of mixed race? Of course they don’t. Because this bill has nothing to do with preventing racial or gender discrimination, it has only to do with trying to put another restriction on reproductive rights.

As for gender-based abortions, 95% of all abortions take place before the gender of the fetus is even known. And again, there isn’t a shred of evidence that anyone in this country has had an abortion on that basis.


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  • matty1

    To play devil’s advocate there could be some number of women who are racialy prejudiced and were raped by someone of another race and for these people race *might* be a factor in choosing an abortion. Even then though I’d think that the rape itself would be more relevant.

  • How about a jobs bill? I think this is the baker’s dozen of abortion bills this Congress has written.

  • MikeMa

    Controlling women today for a better tomorrow.

    Our HoR. Broken at every turn.

  • ArtK

    I gotta ask the question: What do Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass have to do with this bill? Are they co-sponsors or something? Are their names there to invoke the great fight against (real) discrimination?

    Every time someone on the right co-opts a great American historical figure to further their agenda, we all become a little bit less.

    I don’t know what SBA and FD would have said about this bill, but neither do the bill’s authors. Using their names in this fashion disgusts me.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Ed, this whole thing about “does this really happen” is a waste of pixels. You’re bringing facts to a dogma fight.

  • Tualha

    And again, there isn’t a shred of evidence that anyone in this country has had an abortion on that [gender] basis.

    There are probably some immigrants from India or China who had one or more such abortions on precisely that basis before they came to the U.S. And some mothers may have continued to act on the basis of old-country values after coming here, or, more likely, may have been coerced by male relatives.

  • uzza

    Wouldn’t a “woman on whom an abortion is performed” be dead?

  • interrobang

    Sex-selective abortion does happen in North America; it happens fairly often in areas with a lot of Chinese and/or Indian immigrants — Statistics Canada has been keeping track of this kind of thing for a while (see http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/issuesideas/story.html?id=9faa3351-3db1-40d7-9e40-ccd59f4d3838), and aside from the facts that abortion is generally harder to get in the US than in Canada, and that the US doesn’t keep statistics worth a damn compared to StatsCan, I have no reason to believe that it isn’t happening in the US as well. The cultural precursors are certainly present, maybe to a greater degree than in Canada, since the US generally seems to have more internalised misogyny.

    That said, who honestly gives a damn? Unless there’s direct evidence that a woman is actually being coerced into having an abortion — in which case, address that with the existing laws on a case-by-case basis — there’s zero reason to restrict everyone’s ownership of their own bodies just because a few edge cases do things you happen not to like. I’m about as feminist as they get…which is why I come down on the side of not compromising the bodily integrity of women as a class in order to possibly wind up with more girls born, particularly when the cultural hangover problem tends to solve itself in a couple generations anyway.

  • Tualha

    I seem to recall reading that sex-selective abortion is resulting in a huge problem in India – a whole generation with lots and lots of young men, and not nearly enough young women for them to marry. I guess it’ll help with the overpopulation, but I can’t think it’ll do social stability any good. And it’ll probably put a lot of pressure on all the Indian lesbians.

  • lofgren

    To play devil’s advocate there could be some number of women who are racialy prejudiced and were raped by someone of another race and for these people race *might* be a factor in choosing an abortion.

    Seems to me that we have no right to force a woman to carry a child she doesn’t want, regardless of how we feel about her reasons.

  • unbound

    “…race-selection abortions do not implicate the health of mother of the unborn…” would seem to open the door to lawsuits nearly all abortions…even in the case of rape and incest.

    “CIVIL ACTION BY WOMAN ON WHOM THE ABORTION IS PERFORMED…” is in reference to “…uses force or the threat of force to intentionally injure or intimidate any person for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection or race-selection abortion…” which would seem to open the door to lawsuits for any woman who has an abortion, but changes their mind later (or is brain-washed by a xtian group).

  • bksea

    Something has to be done about these ridiculous names for bills in congress. I think the opposition should be able to co-name each Bill. So, the “Patriot Act” would become the “Patriot / Bend Over Act,” etc.

  • But this all makes perfect sense. Just as we need far right-wing bigots to protect us from the specter of Sharia Islamism, which will endanger the rights of women and gays, so too do we need far right-wing anti-abortionists to protect us from racism and misogyny. Because they’ve done such an awesome job of it over the last 50 years.

  • Chiroptera

    Title: House Considers Dishonest Abortion Bill

    Is there any other kind?

  • raven

    Sex selective abortion is a cosmically bad idea.

    They do it a lot in India and China, the two most populous nations in the world.

    It has resulted in a huge gender imbalance because, of course, females are the target. That is going to cause problems down the road. If nothing else, a lot of men are going to end up old and unmarried whether they want to or not.

    That being said, it doesn’t seem to be enough of a problem here in the USA to warrant passing laws at this time. The best way to combat such a problem is education and common sense. Because you will have a hard time proving that any given abortion was because of sex rather than a myriad of other reasons.

    The race part is bogus. Who in the hell aborts a child because of their race unless they were raped and got pregnant. In which case, it is because of rape, not race. In any event, the race of the fetus can only be half “wrong” due to biology. Half of the fetus will always be the mothers race.

  • eric

    which would seem to open the door to lawsuits for any woman who has an abortion, but changes their mind later (or is brain-washed by a xtian group).

    I think you’ve put your finger on the stealth attack on abortion rights, right there. The goal with this bill is to make doctors afraid to perform one, because it lets the woman sue them afterwards for a cause that is basically impossible (for the doctor) to defend against. Such a lawsuit would depend on the woman’s motivation/state of mind, and how can a doctor disprove that?

    Even if a doctor wants to offer abortion services, you can bet that malpractice insurance rates (for doctors performing abortions) are going to go through the roof. Meaning some doctors may stop doing them simply out of economic necessity.

    Its particularly insidious because I imagine that poor women would likely be considered a higher lawsuit risk than rich women.

  • D. C. Sessions

    It has resulted in a huge gender imbalance because, of course, females are the target. That is going to cause problems down the road.

    It’s an absolutely great way to bring down the long-term population. When nine out of ten young adults are male, it gets much harder to maintain the birthrate.

    Meanwhile, places like Canada and Scandinavia where girl-babies are valued as much as boykids will have some utterly awesome opportunities to skim cream from the global population. Set whatever bar you like for immigrants, there will be intense competition to be allowed into a country where half of the population is female.

  • Modusoperandi

    D. C. Sessions “It’s an absolutely great way to bring down the long-term population. When nine out of ten young adults are male, it gets much harder to maintain the birthrate.”

    Plus, a rutting douche fistfight on every corner!

  • Hmm. Seems like all those “Men’s Rights activists” I’ve been reading about over at man boobz could trade spots with a few these lonely bachelors. (Or several dozen, whatever.) They could finally live in that woman-free universe of beta males* that they’ve dreamed of since prom.

    *Their words, not mine.

  • Ichthyic

    The race part is bogus. Who in the hell aborts a child because of their race unless they were raped and got pregnant.

    I think people here are unaware of the long history this tactic has played in the anti-abortion crusade.

    The root of the argument comes from a bunch of racist, bigoted white motherfuckers trying to convince the African American community that racist white abortionists are “brainwashing” them into aborting their kids. Not kidding. they usually paraphrase it something like: “White people are trying to commit “genocide” on African Americans by convincing you to abort your babies!”

    seriously, they just took their own prejudices and projected them into a entirely fabricated anti-abortion argument, and use the most disgust lies to promote race-fear. They don’t care if African Americans hate white Americans, as long as the anti-abortion message is accepted.

    this is nothing new; I’ve seen this argument before (even on youtube!), and it’s been shot down by any number of African American welfare and rights groups, but this IS the first time I can recall seeing it presented as a bill on the floor of a house of Congress.

    *shakes head sadly*

  • Ichthyic

    which would seem to open the door to lawsuits for any woman who has an abortion, but changes their mind later (or is brain-washed by a xtian group).

    I’d add that, again, this is a fearmongering tactic directed at DOCTORS.

    they want doctors to be afraid that if they perform abortions, they will end up being the subjects of endless lawsuits, frivolous or not.

    The already dwindling number of doctors willing to provide these services will continue to dwindle, as it already has been for decades now, out of pure fear.

    the anti-abortionists realize they don’t need to overturn Roe v Wade; they just need to remove access.

    they have done this amazingly effectively over the last 20 years.