- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The House of Representatives Wednesday debated but did not immediately vote on a bill to outlaw abortions based solely on the basis of sex.

The discussion pointed up the philosophical views of the members, with some arguing that killing unborn girls just because they are girls is the ultimate war on women, while others said criminalizing abortion in these cases was another invasion into the rights of women to handle their own health care and reproductive decisions.

By early Wednesday evening, no vote had been held on the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) as the debate continued. Under the House’s fast-track procedure known as suspension of the rules, PRENDA would need two-thirds vote to pass.

Rep. Trent Franks, Arizona Republican and lead sponsor of PRENDA, laid out the background for the bill, noting that there are now an estimated 200 million “missing baby girls” in the world, due to sex-selection abortions.

This is an “extreme form of violence against women” and the United States is the only advanced country in the world that doesn’t outlaw this practice in some way, said Mr. Franks.

Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat, led the opposition to the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, which bars abortions based on a baby's sex. (Associated Press)
Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat, led the opposition to the Prenatal ... more >

He said studies have found evidence that sex-selection abortions are happening in significant numbers in the United States. “What in God’s name have we come to” when “the three deadliest words on this earth are, ‘It’s a girl.’ “

Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat, led the opposition to PRENDA.

This is just “the latest in a long series of measures intended to chip away” at a woman’s right to get safe, legal medical care, he said.

PRENDA is unconstitutional, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, said. It makes health-care providers read the minds of patients and then report it to law enforcement, or face severe criminal penalties, he said.

“You simply are attacking women’s rights,” said Rep. Jim McDermott, Washington Democrat. This is an “insidious attack on Roe v. Wade,” added Rep. Barbara Lee, California Democrat.

Republicans countered that their arguments were on the higher ground.

“This is a war on ethics. Woe to you if you vote against this bill,” said Rep. Cliff Stearns, Florida Republican.

A vote against the act is a vote in favor of female “gender-cide,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Republican, citing public support for a law like PRENDA.

Recently, the new Charlotte Lozier Institute, which is affiliated with the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said 77 percent of 1,016 respondents would support a law banning abortion in cases where “the fact that the developing baby is a girl is the sole reason for seeking an abortion.”