Bill to ban gender and race-based abortions advances in House

By Michelle Bauman

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Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.)

Legislation to prohibit abortions based on gender or race has passed a U.S. House committee by a significant margin.

“The very bedrock foundational principle that gave birth to America was the conviction that all human beings are children of God and created equal in His sight,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), who introduced the bill.

He explained that an “innate sense of human fairness” should render it “abundantly clear” that aborting babies based on their race or gender is “fundamentally wrong.”

On Feb. 16, the House Judiciary Committee passed the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act by a vote of 20-13.

The legislation would prohibit abortions based on race or sex, and make coercing women to have an abortion for those reasons illegal.

It would not prosecute women seeking abortions, but would instead hold accountable those who perform, finance and coerce those types of abortions.
 
The bill has been endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee and gained the support of 87 cosponsors in the U.S. House.

It has been adamantly opposed by abortion advocates, including Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

Franks, who introduced a similar bill in 2009, said that the legislation is necessary because such abortions are happening – largely unnoticed – in America.

He pointed out that minority babies in America are aborted at five times the rate of white babies.

In addition, his bill references a 2008 study indicating that some segments of the U.S. population have “unnatural sex-ratio imbalances,” which are likely the result of sex-selection abortions.
 
“By definition, sex-selection abortions do not implicate the health of the mother or the unborn, but instead are elective procedures motivated by sex or gender bias,” the legislation says.

It also points to a 2006 Zogby International poll, which found that 86 percent of Americans believe that sex-selection abortion should be illegal.
 
Franks described abortions based on race and gender as “a betrayal of the precious truth that all men are created equal and are stamped with the Imago Dei on their souls.”
 
He said that opposition to these types of abortion is something “upon which all Americans should be able to find agreement, regardless of our party affiliations or even our beliefs about abortion.”

The congressman is now looking forward to advancing the legislation on the House floor.

“I am convinced this is the civil rights battle that will define our generation,” he said.

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