A congressman who voted against protections for LGBTQ workers in 2016 concluded his tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives Monday with legislation that would ban fetal genetic testing meant to determine sexual orientation.
The restriction, introduced Friday by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), is necessary to “protect the lives of unborn gay children,” Duffy said in a statement. The former reality TV star retired from the House Monday after serving more than four terms.
The proposed anti-choice legislation, which likely doesn’t stand much chance in the Democratic-majority House, comes after a genome-wide association study showed same-sex sexual behavior has a genetic component. The study estimated that genetic variants account for between 8 to 25 percent of the variation “in male and female same-sex sexual behavior.” The recently released research could lead to “the termination of pregnancies by parents who do not wish to have a same sex attraction child,” a press release from Duffy’s office claims, despite no scientific evidence that such testing is possible.
“There’s no indication that this would happen, first of all,” Leila Abolfazli, director of federal reproductive rights for the National Women’s Law Center, told Rewire.News. “I think the premise of the bill basically acknowledges that there’s discrimination against LGBTQ people … but [Republicans] are doing nothing to protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination on an everyday basis. It’s offensive that this is the way he’s approaching it.”
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Abolfazli said it’s hypocritical of Duffy to throw his support behind the Trump administration and its litany of attacks on LGBTQ rights while proposing legislation that claims to address discrimination against LGBTQ people. “For us, this is yet another abortion restriction like all these others,” she said. “There’s a lot he can do to help LGBTQ individuals … and all he’s doing here is trying to restrict reproductive autonomy.”
National Right to Life supports Duffy’s anti-choice bill. A reliable anti-choice vote in the House since first winning election in 2010, Duffy has long supported defunding Planned Parenthood.
In May 2016, Duffy sided against government protections for LGBTQ people who work for federal contractors. The measure, part of a military spending bill, failed by a single vote in the House, Roll Call reported. Duffy, a stalwart supporter of President Trump, had backed a similar measure a year earlier upholding President Obama’s 2014 executive order banning discrimination against LGBTQ workers at government contractors.
In 2010, Duffy accepted the endorsement of Julaine Appling, who led the 2006 campaign to outlaw same-sex marriage in Wisconsin and described Duffy as supportive of “traditional marriage and other timeless values,” according to the Associated Press. Duffy, the AP reported, backed the effort to end marriage equality in Wisconsin.