Dangerous and Cynical Sex and Race-Selective Abortion Ban Continues to Move through House of Representatives

(PRESS RELEASE) A bill imposing an unconstitutional ban on abortion and targeting minority women for racial profiling by health care providers is one step closer to a vote before the full U.S. House of Representatives. 

Today, the House Judiciary Committee approved the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act— introduced last year by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)—clearing the way for a full House vote. The bill would make any abortion performed after an ultrasound a potential criminal offense, essentially encouraging racial profiling and creating additional barriers for women to access comprehensive reproductive health care.

“We urge members of Congress to recognize and reject this bill for what it is: an assault on the rights, health, and dignity of women and minorities, cynically masquerading as an effort to prevent sex and race discrimination,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

“Far from addressing the root causes of discrimination, this bill exacerbates them. Its harsh criminal penalties and mandate for racial profiling at the doctor’s office would only discourage women from obtaining the reproductive health care they need, particularly among minority communities that already face substantial barriers to essential services.”

Northup noted that the true motives behind the legislation have nothing to do with its stated aims:

“While this bill’s supporters have staunchly opposed many real measures to combat sex and race discrimination in the past, their equally vocal support for the most extreme anti-choice legislation makes it plain that this is just another thinly veiled attack on reproductive rights.”

The bill’s sponsors have consistently opposed real civil rights laws such as the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, and the Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act.

Those same individuals have also pushed for numerous anti-choice efforts, including defunding Planned Parenthood, prohibiting the District of Columbia from using its own funds to provide poor women insurance coverage for abortions, and supporting a bill that would have allowed women with life-threatening pregnancies to suffer and die in emergency rooms if the attending physician refused to provide them with abortion care.