Again, the cowardice.
The House of Representatives on Thursday failed to pass the euphemistically named Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act (or PRENDA). Yesterday, Talking Point Memo's Sahil Kapur had explained it "would subject doctors to a fine and imprison them for up to five years if they knowingly perform a sex-selective abortion. It would also require medical professionals to 'report known or suspected violations' or otherwise face fines and up to one year in prison."
The bill was brought up virtually entirely to give the GOP, which knew it would not prevail, a political soundbite and to throw a little red-meat to the party's popular base. There is no evidence that gender selection is common in the U.S.A., where the male-to-female ratio is 1.05 to 1.0, which the National Academy of Sciences terms the "biological norm."
House Speaker John Boehner claimed, however, “This type of sex-selection is something most Americans find pretty repulsive. And our members feel strongly about it. That’s why it’s being brought to the floor.” HR 3541 did give Republicans an opportunity to take a cheap shot against workers, whether doctors or other medical professionals. They would face prosecution for being involved in an abortion chosen for purposes of sex-selection or for even being a bystander.
House Republicans find these abortions so "repulsive" that they didn't bother to admonish, criticize, or much less threaten with prosecution the individual who decides upon an abortion, seeks a provider, and pays money to a medical professional to conspire in this abomination. Bill sponsor Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, let the cat out of the bag when he argued "Sex selection is violence against women, and it’s the truest kind of a war against women."
Franks' remark was nearly as ludicrous as it was incomprehensible. The sex selection, as rare as it is, so upsetting to supporters of the measure would be prompted by the woman herself. Yet to the Arizona congressman, "sex selection is violence against women," precisely the individuals who would be pursuing it. Perfectly logical.
No one will point that out, of course. Both opponents (implausibly) and supporters of abortion rights maintain their highest allegiance is to women, with opponents determined to alleviate their image as foes of the reproductive rights of women. Supporting abortion rights, contraception, or even the health care provided by Planned Parenthood would be just too difficult- easier to charge liberals with "violence against women" for supporting their outrageous bill.
With any sense of decency, pro-life advocates would hold the woman no less accountable than the medical professional. Otherwise, the options are two- either they are unconvinced abortion ends a human life or they are demonstrating extraordinary cowardice.
Next Up: John Edwards, of course.