Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) opposed H.R. 3541, the "Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2012." Formerly known as the "Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act," the bill jeopardizes women's access to safe, legal medical care and undermines the constitutional right to privacy guaranteed by Roe v. Wade.
"This legislation does nothing to empower women to make life choices free from family or community pressures they may face. The right to choose is not limited to the right to end a pregnancy, but includes the right to become pregnant and to bring a healthy child into the world. While sex-selective abortions are not a widespread problem in the United States, experience from around the world indicates that providing women with the tools to become independent and to be safe from violence is the best means of enabling them to resist coercive pressures to have a son.
"Congress should do more to give women access to resources that allow them to make what they believe is the right choice for themselves and their children, not pass a law that makes doctors criminals and jeopardizes women's access to medical care.
"This bill assigns physicians the impossible task of trying to read women's minds. And by threatening health care professionals with prison time and lawsuits, it is inevitable that doctors will begin treating their patients with suspicion. It will chill doctor-patient relations by requiring physicians to police their patients. In short, this legislation will effectively destroy the doctor-patient relationship by pitting the legal interests of health care providers against their patients' right to privacy. It does nothing to meaningfully address its purported purpose and instead constitutes an attack on the constitutional right guaranteed by Roe v. Wade.
"Despite its lofty name upon introduction, this bill is not a civil rights bill. It is just the latest in a long series of measures intended to chip away at a woman's right to seek safe, legal medical care."