News Abortion

Vitter Seeks to Insert Anti-Choice Amendment Into Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Adele M. Stan

It has little chance of passing, but Sen. David Vitter hopes to attach a destructive anti-choice amendment to a landmark non-discrimination vote, according to news reports.

It may rhyme with ENDA, but PRENDA is a whole different animal; it’s an anti-choice measure that, according to the Atlantic Wire, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) hopes to attach to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which the Senate is expected to vote on this week.

ENDA is a long-overdue piece of legislation that would make it illegal to discriminate, in hiring or firing, against anyone on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. PRENDA, on the other hand, is the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, a benevolent-sounding name for a piece of legislation whose proponents hope to use to further limit abortion access, while demonizing Asian women and challenging the motives of African-American women who seek abortions.

The Law Professor Blogs Network explains:

PRENDA defines “‘sex-selection abortion’’ as an “abortion undertaken for purposes of eliminating an unborn child of an undesired sex,” and ‘‘race-selection abortion’’ is “an abortion performed for purposes of eliminating an unborn child because the child or a parent of the child is of an undesired race.”

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As the Atlantic Wire’s Abby Ohlheiser notes, Vitter claimed last year that “he believes some immigrants to the U.S. are engaging in ‘female feticide’ on U.S. soil, and that his law would stop that practice.”

In addition to casting aspersions on the reasons an immigrant woman might seek an abortion, PRENDA is also crafted to advance the false right-wing narrative that pro-choice advocates seek to limit the number of Black babies born.

In essence, according to American Civil Liberties Union Policy Counsel Sarah Lipton-Lubet, in a May 2012  statement, “[PRENDA] does nothing to combat sex discrimination. Instead, it trades on anti-immigrant stereotypes and would inevitably lead to racial profiling, forcing health care professionals to treat certain women as automatic suspects.”

The slippery slope inherent in PRENDA is a run at the heart of Roe v. Wade, according to Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), who sponsored a version of the legislation that failed last year in the House of Representatives.

At a 2011 event sponsored by the right-wing Frederick Douglass Foundation, Franks showed his hand, according to the Washington Independent: “[This bill] establishes that unborn children are persons, too,” Franks said. “It might blow a fatal hole in Roe v. Wade.”

It’s not likely that Vitter, if he does offer PRENDA as an amendment to ENDA, would prevail in attaching the measure. His attempt to do so is more likely political posturing for the benefit of his anti-choice supporters, such as the Susan B. Anthony List, whose president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, called Vitter a “pro-life hero” for his support of the failed 2012 PRENDA bill.

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