By Elizabeth Vlock
During a press conference Thursday, Rep.Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) characterized the the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) as a bill necessary to prevent ”the ultimate violence against women,” a nod to the recent passage of the Violence Against Women Act in the House.
The bill would criminalize abortions motivated by the gender of the child, particularly if the fetus is a female. Referring to the abortions as, “sex selection” and “gendercide,” PRENDA aims to protect unborn females who would be aborted based on their gender.
PRENDA would hold a doctor criminally liable for knowingly performing or abetting an abortion on a woman whose reasoning for the abortion is based on the sex of the child. Doctors that willingly aid or carry out abortions aware of woman’s intent to end a pregnancy due to the basis of the fetus’ sex could receive up to five years in prison and fines. Doctors could also be forced to pay civil remedies to women on whom sex-selection abortions were administered.
Franks drew parallels between sex-selection abortion in the United States and the forced abortions in China and India. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who was one of several Republicans at Thursday’s briefing, called sex-selection abortion on females, “the real war on women,” a reaction to women’s groups and Democrats’ accusations that Republicans have declared a “war on women.” Smith also deemed sex-selection abortion as “population control.”
A recent undercover video taken at Planned Parenthood by the anti-abortion group Live Action also sparked outrage. In the video an actress speaks to a social worker explaining that she has taken an over the counter gender test and that her fetus is going to be a female. The social worker explains that, “at Planned Parenthood we believe that it is not up to us to decide what is a good or bad reason for somebody to decide to terminate a pregnancy.” Planned Parenthood responded to the footage by stating that their policy is to provide, “nonjudgmental care to all” who come to their clinics looking for abortion services. Lila Rose, a spokeswoman for Live Action, spoke at the press conference in support of PRENDA as well.
The PRENDA vote will take place Thursday afternoon.