Bill targets race, sex-specific abortion

People just don’t trust black women and other women of color and one U.S. House of Representatives member is proving this to be a fact.

A bill titled Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011 (No. Joke.) made its appearance before the House judiciary subcommittee on Tuesday, which would prohibit abortions based on race or sex. The bill is being sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks, a Republican from Arizona. Ironically, the women who have the abortions would not be penalized, but those who do the abortions are the real targets of this legislation.

The article stipulates supporters believe the law is necessary to prevent the U.S. from becoming a haven for those who hail from countries where this practice is acceptable.

However, a witness speaking on behalf of an array of women’s rights and abortion rights groups assailed the bill as “dangerous and duplicitous.”

“Although this bill purports to support gender equity and civil rights, it does neither,” said Miriam Yeung of National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. “The legislative priority of the committee members who dreamed up this legislation is to take away the rights of women and communities of color, not to help us.”

In Asian nations such as India and China, where many parents traditionally had a preference for sons, abortions of female fetuses are widespread even when authorities have tried to ban sex-selection abortions.

On a limited basis, the practice has spread to the United States among some couples from Asia, according to a 2008 study by two Columbia University economists. They analyzed the gender of U.S.-born children of Chinese, Korean and Asian Indian parents, and found that the odds of having a boy increased if the family already had a girl or two. (SOURCE)

The representative said he decided to introduce the bill because of his concern over the alleged statistics from the Centers for Disease Control that estimate black women had a 35 percent abortion rate in 2008, the latest year available. It should be noted the data CDC excludes 17 states that did not report, did not report numbers based on race or did not meet reporting standards.

It’s no surprise that Rep. Franks would hide behind his concern for black babies in his efforts to roll back women’s rights. It’s also no surprise that Georgia Right To Life is also a supporter of this piece of legislation. Rep. Franks recently said in a letter written to his colleagues:

“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.”

He also makes the tired, misleading argument that abortion clinics are “purposefully placed in the inner city and targeted to minority women.”

I’m honored Rep. Franks believes he needs to protect black women and our wombs from those predatory abortion doctors looking to rip my black baby out of my uterus as part of their twisted, 21st century eugenics plot. I’m honored Rep. Franks feels it’s his paternalistic duty to protect women from falling victims to abortion practitioners looking to rid the world of brown and female babies.

But, as I’ve stated before, these efforts to incorporate concerns about the well-being of the black community are superficial and self-serving. Furthermore, to piggy-back on this paranoia about sex-selective abortions growing in the states is a reflection of how desperate anti-choice activists are to promote their reactionary, anti-woman agenda.

It’s apparent these anti-choice activists have no intentions of allowing women, particularly black women, the autonomy to defend our wombs and grant us the authority to choose to seek an abortion if needed. It’s apparent that anti-choice activists have shown they’d rather treat women as children and pick and choose which rights we should have as opposed to viewing women as self-sustaining contributing members of society who are entitled to equal protection under the law.

I’d much rather see anti-choice activists trust black women as well as other women in our ability to make thorough, carefully deliberated decisions with regards to our reproductive health. Unfortunately, as with other anti-choice campaigns, women’s rights are reduced to political footballs as legislators, jockeying for a solid political future, work to curtail the freedoms we spent centuries dying to gain.