Congress is currently considering H.R. 3541, or the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PreNDA). Contrary to its title, the bill would use stereotypes to unfairly discriminate against women of color and immigrants.
Isn't banning sex-selection abortion a good thing?
Sex-selection abortions, and sex-based discrimination in general, is a real issue in this country and around the world. However, evidence and studies have shown that the programs which work to reduce sex-selection abortions and other behaviors are those which actually empower women, not criminalize their health care and gut their sense of autonomy and responsibility. Sex-selection abortion bans have never worked to actually reduce unequal birth rates between males and females.
How does this legislation unfairly target women of color?
White women do not typically have children of color and would therefore be less likely to seek an abortion based on the race of their fetus. As well, white women are victims of the sex-selection stereotype far less often than Asian immigrant women, and so doctors—because under this law they would be required to determine the reasons the abortion is being sought—are less likely to target white people than they are immigrants.
The advocates of the bill say that they are responding to a (faulty) statistic that many Planned Parenthood clinics are in neighborhoods of color, and that they’re trying to execute a genocide in the ghettos of the United States. That statistic is wrong and misleading for a number of reasons, but that’s the rationale they have used. The pro-choice community is seeing this bill, with its familiar awkward testimonies and anti-choice advocates, as simply another way that the rights of women are the subject of attack.