Sex or race may be the latest consideration in determining whether a woman can abort or not. This comes after a bill that Democratic legislators and lobbyists have dubbed a ‘’nightmare’’ was forwarded to the US House of Representatives committee floor on Thursday. GOP members made reference to the work of Frederick Douglass, the Book of Matthew and Thomas Jefferson to forward their agenda that abortions which they deem to be of a discriminatory nature should be outlawed.
“It took the civil war to make the state-sanctioned practice of human slavery come to an end,” was the, the bill’s sponsor, Representative Trent Franks’ sentiment, during a House judiciary subcommittee meeting on Thursday. He went on to state that in as much as the United States has “made great progress” in the advancement of civil rights and bringing an end to racial discrimination, “one glaring exception is life itself, the most foundational civil right of all.”
As things stand, the Prenatal Discrimination Act, also known as Prenda, is aimed at criminalizing abortions that are performed on the basis of gender or race of the fetus. Activists have however countered that the policy may end up putting physicians in a space where they have to report patients they think may have had an abortion for the aforementioned reasons, without having concrete evidence of this. Another fear they have is that the proposal will mainstream racial profiling for doctors and possibly jeopardize the doctor – patient dynamic.
The executive director of Sister Song, Monica Simpson had strong words regarding Prenda, stating, “If you ask a black woman if she has had an abortion because her child is black, she will say that’s absolutely insane. She would instead talk about her economic state, her access to healthcare, whether she might be in a violent relationship,” Simpson remarked. “Our elected officials are supposed to be in office to move forward legislation to make us healthier and better, but I’m seeing the opposite. So it makes me question a lot of things, especially as a black woman living in this country. With bills like this, it becomes more and more obvious that my life doesn’t matter and that’s disheartening and hard to hold as a person who has to walk in this world every day.”