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Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. FARR. Mr. Speaker, the bill we are debating today, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, purports to address gender discrimination by preventing abortions on the basis of sex. While one of the most effective ways to end gender discrimination is to empower women, H.R. 3541 only serves to marginalize women even further. Today, minority women have to overcome additional hurdles to receive the quality healthcare they deserve and this legislation only serves to subject them to even further scrutiny when making healthcare decisions.

This legislation restricts women's access to reproductive healthcare by threatening doctors with up to five years in prison and other penalties if they perform sex selection abortions. If the drafters of H.R. 3541 were really trying to end sex-selective abortions, wouldn't they also be prosecuting those who sought an abortion for these reasons, not only doctors? With doctors fearful of yet even more restrictions to their practice, many will simply refuse to treat women who want to obtain a safe and legal abortion. After all, abortion is still a constitutionally guaranteed right in this country.

In addition, this bill includes language requiring any medical or mental health professional to report known or suspected sex-selective abortions. However, in virtually all circumstances, it would be impossible for reproductive healthcare providers to determine whether a woman seeks a sex-selective abortion, thus amounting to a ``witch hunt''.

I am lucky enough to be surrounded by women in my family. I have a wife, a sister, a daughter, and a granddaughter. I am deeply troubled by gender discrimination. I support legislation to address the real issues in low-income communities of color, and to promote women's rights, including: S. 1925, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act; H.R. 1519, the Paycheck Fairness Act; and H.J. Res. 69, proposing an amendment to the Constitution on the equal rights for men and women. Since the Majority is so concerned with gender discrimination, I look forward to the day when the Republican leadership decides to bring these bills on the floor for a vote.

Mr. Speaker, I am completely opposed to sex-selective abortions but H.R. 3541 will not prevent these and, in fact, will do far more harm than good.


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