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November 30, 2011 (HLIWorldWatch.org) – A measure to protect the unborn from discriminatory race and sex-selective abortions by punishing medical providers of such procedures was re-introduced in the United States House of Representatives on Tuesday.

“[T]he Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, or ‘PRENDA,’ … restricts sex-selection abortion and race-selection abortion, and the coercion of a woman to obtain either. The woman seeking an abortion is exempted from prosecution, while abortion providers are held to account,” wrote Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), leading sponsor of the bill, in a letter to colleagues on Monday.

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“Sex-selection abortion is happening in the United States. A study published in the April 2008 Journal of the National Academy of Sciences shows through U.S. Census data that certain segments of the U.S. population – particularly those coming from countries that practice sex-selection abortion – have unnaturally skewed sex-ratios at birth caused by sex-selection ‘most likely at the prenatal stages,’” the letter continues.

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According to Rep. Franks’s staff, the PRENDA legislation will be formerly introduced Tuesday, November 29, 2011. Rep. Franks’s letter to congressional colleagues lists 18 current cosponsors of the bill, including Representatives Aderholt (R-Ala.), Akin (R-Mo.), Bartlett (R-Md.), Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Burton (R-Ind.), Crawford (R-Ark.), Duncan (R-Tenn.), Forbes (R-Va.), Fortenberry (R-Neb.), Garrett (R-N.J.), Harris (R-Md.), Jones (R-N.C.), King (R-Iowa), Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Lipinski (D-Ill.), Pearce (R-N.M.), Pence (R-Ind.), Schmidt (R-Ohio), Smith (R-Texas) and Westmoreland (R-Ga.).

Rep. Franks introduced a similar bill in 2009 which received the bipartisan support of 49 sponsors. The bill was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary and two subcommittees, but did not come up for a full vote in the House.

“A `sex-selection abortion’ is an abortion undertaken for purposes of eliminating an unborn child of an undesired sex. Sex-selection abortion is barbaric, and described by scholars and civil rights advocates as an act of sex-based or gender-based violence, predicated on sex discrimination,” according to the 2009 version of the bill. “By definition, sex-selection abortions do not implicate the health of the mother of the unborn, but instead are elective procedures motivated by sex or gender bias.”

Similarly, “A `race-selection abortion’ is an abortion performed for purposes of eliminating an unborn child because the child or a parent of the child is of an undesired race. Race-selection abortion is barbaric, and described by civil rights advocates as an act of race-based violence, predicated on race discrimination.”

The legislation points out that there are currently no U.S. laws specifically targeting race and sex-selection abortion.

While the bill protects women from legal prosecution, “Whoever knowingly–(1) performs an abortion knowing that such abortion is sought based on the sex, gender, color or race of the child, or the race of a parent of that child; (2) uses force or the threat of force to intentionally injure or intimidate any person for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection or race-selection abortion; or (3) solicits or accepts funds for the purpose of financing a sex-selection abortion or a race-selection abortion; or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both,” the 2009 bill stated. Civil remedies may also be sought.

“I introduced the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act, or PreNDA, in 2008 and again in 2009 specifically to address the disturbing undercurrent of racial discrimination in abortion policy,” Rep. Franks said in 2009. “Abortion policy is not and has never been neutral.”

“While we should strive to end abortion in all circumstances, this legislation is an important and welcome step,” said Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International (HLI). “Every human life is sacred, but to specifically target the unborn based on race or gender for destruction magnifies the inherent evil of abortion, and fosters an even greater prejudice toward life itself.”

Reprinted with permission from HLIWorldWatch.org.

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