Congresswoman Chu Opposes Legislation Aimed at Limiting Choice

Press Release

By:  Judy Chu
Date: Feb. 16, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Today, Rep. Chu opposed the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (H.R. 3541), or PRENDA during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the bill and offered two amendments to highlight the hypocritical stance of the bill's proponents.

PRENDA would punish doctors who provide abortions based on the sex or race of the fetus. In practice, this bill would question the intention of all American women who choose to terminate a pregnancy. It will severely limit the access of Asian- and African-American women to a full range of reproductive services by claiming those racial groups are electing to have abortions more frequently based on the race or sex of the fetus.

"This bill is dangerous to all women in this country. How can any provider know what's in the mind of a woman and determine why she's taking an action regarding her pregnancy? It raises suspicions regarding the choice every woman who has had an ultrasound makes about her own body. If a provider is held criminally responsible, then providers will naturally say to women, "I don't want to serve you. Better safe than sorry.'" said Rep. Judy Chu.

Congresswoman Judy Chu offered two amendments to push back against this Republican-led assault on a woman's right to choose. The first would support pregnant women, which PRENDA's proponents claim they want to help and protect. The second amendment highlighted the work and experience of international agencies like the UN and WHO which have concluded that prohibitive policies like PRENDA are ineffective and may ultimately violate the human rights of women. Instead, we should seriously promote and commit to addressing the underlying causes of son preference -- gender discrimination -- and promote real gender equality have been an extremely effective means of reducing the occurrence of sex-selection.

"If we are really going to take away a woman's right to choose under the guise of banning ban race & gender selective abortions, then doesn't the government have a responsibility to also help lift up women in society and help them carry their pregnancies to term, regardless of background or race," said Rep. Chu. "Unfortunately, the Republicans don't agree. Both of my amendments were hypocritically voted down along party lines."