Most feminists defend abortion rights to the death - literally, for the babies who are killed. When the issue is abortion for purposes of sex selection, however, some liberals trade the notion of "my body, my business" for "protect the unborn women." That is, unless something is actually being done about it.
On Thursday, the House of Representatives rejected the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2012. The legislation sought to impose criminal penalties on those who perform abortions motivated by the "sex, gender, color or race of the child, or the race of a parent," and those who coerce, support or pay for these practices. The tally was 246-168, short of the two-thirds vote necessary to pass the measure under suspension of the rules.
The issue was highlighted this week when pro-life activist Lila Rose's group Live Action released an undercover video of a woman purporting to want a sex-based abortion receiving helpful guidance from an employee at Planned Parenthood. Once the story broke, the abortion provider fired the staffer for supposedly "not following protocol." Planned Parenthood claimed it, "condemns seeking abortions on the basis of gender," but its "policy is to provide 'high quality, confidential, nonjudgmental care to all who come into' its health centers." That's all the employee was doing; obviously, the real problem was being filmed doing it.
PRENDA's objectives are difficult even for leftists to oppose. If it's wrong to discriminate based on sex and race outside the womb, why not apply it to the unborn? The catch is such a determination would force abortion supporters to admit gestating babies have rights. While radical feminists occasionally denounce sex pre-selection abortion in countries like China, where most abortions are of little girls, they closed ranks against this attempt to ban the practice in the United States.
PRENDA presented a contradiction abortion advocates don't want to face by pitting two important liberal causes - abortion and discrimination - against each other. Predictably, the left tried to have it both ways. The hard-line National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) said the bill "exploits the very real problems of sex discrimination and gender inequity" to attack abortion, and counseled that a better solution would be to "support policies that work to combat the bias and stereotypes that continue to plague our society." Others alleged the bill would mandate racial profiling, since sex-selective abortion is mainly practiced by Asian Americans.
The White House admitted discrimination was a problem but denounced provisions of the legislation that would "subject doctors to criminal prosecution if they fail to determine the motivations behind a very personal and private decision," adding that government "should not intrude in medical decisions or private family matters in this way." This stance is interesting given that the White House considers almost every other personal decision fair game for government intervention and control.
PRENDA or a bill like it will return in the next Congress and probably every subsequent one until it passes. It's a useful tool for forcing abortion supporters to go on the record that killing babies is more important to them than preventing discrimination. Hopefully, some day, stopping the practice altogether will be the law of the land.
The Washington Times
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