News Abortion

PRENDA Dies in House as GOP Continues to Divert Attention From Real Problems by Instead Attacking Women

Jodi Jacobson

The so-called Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), today failed to get the two-thirds vote it would have needed to pass under House rules for passing legislation under suspension. The vote was 246-168.

See all our coverage of the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) here and all our coverage of sex selection here.

A change to this article was made at 4:13 pm, June 1, 2012 to correct an error; the earlier version attributed the quotes in this piece to the National Women’s Law Center when they actually came from the press release of the National Partnership for Women and Families.

The so-called Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), today failed to get the two-thirds vote it would have needed under House rules for passing legislation under suspension. The vote was 246-168.

“Today,” said the National Partnership for Women and Families in a statement after the vote, “a minority in the House of Representatives managed to block passage of shameful legislation that would have criminalized abortion on the basis of sex.”

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This bill had nothing whatsoever to do with stopping discrimination or improving women’s health, but instead was about advancing a radical anti-choice agenda. It was a thinly veiled attempt to make it more difficult for women to seek abortion care and imprison doctors who provide that care. It is frightening that 246 members voted for this bill; every representative who voted ‘yes’ should examine his or her conscience, attitudes toward women, and priorities.”

Gender discrimination is a real problem in the United States, noted the National Partnership, “but making essential health care less accessible is not a solution to that problem, which is why most leading women’s and civil rights organizations lined up against this bill.”

“Instead of attempting to turn back the clock on women’s health care, Congress should focus on legislation that would make a real difference in the lives of women by: addressing discrimination against pregnant and nursing mothers in the workplace; providing sufficient funding for comprehensive, evidence-based sex education; expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act; passing the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Healthy Families Act; and advancing real remedies to gender discrimination that are pending in Congress.”

I would recommend, for example, that if he finds he has a lot of time on his hands, Representative Franks might consider real efforts to address the maternal mortality crisis created by the lack of maternity care available to women of color and immigrant women in the United States. But then I remember… He’s from Arizona.

I would also recommend that he spend more time focused on actual ways to help get people back to work, make sure they have an adequate safety net, make sure kids have access to good schools, ensure that children are accessing health care under the Affordable Care Act, or ensuring that we are addressing the single greatest threat to women and girls, and everyone else… climate change.

But then I remember… He belongs to the GOP.

So instead of addressing real problems in the United States, Representative Franks and his cronies as well as some of those people who still like to call themselves Democrats actually spent time on and voted for a bill that was a not-at-all veiled attempt to restrict women’s rights to control their destinies by using another created panic based on non-existent data.

Good way to spend that taxpayer money, right?

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