PRENDA and the Broader Fight on Women's Health and Pocketbook Issues
There’s a new bill that was voted on (and defeated) today in the House of Representatives called “PRENDA.” Ever heard of it? Well, it stands for “prenatal non-discrimination act” and it’s a bill put forth by anti-women’s health politician Trent Franks (of DC-20-week-abortion-ban fame) about sex selective abortion in the United States.
In reality, this bill is just another way to limit women’s access to abortion by interfering with the doctor/patient relationship. It does nothing to end discrimination or gender disparity, and instead would cast suspicion on doctors and force them to report women whom they suspect are seeking such a procedure or face imprisonment.
There’s a reason more than ninety civil rights, faith, and medical organizations oppose this bill, it’s shaming, intrusive, and doesn’t actually address the issue it claims to address. In fact, the Guttmacher Institute said, “[E]vidence of sex selection in the United States is limited and inconclusive.”
But those pushing for this measure tried to turn the tables, claiming that anyone who does not support it is part of the real “war on women”. We thought it would be instructive to take a look at what the House has been up to before we start pointing fingers about where the attacks on women’s health are coming from….
In the past two years, the House has pushed for a string of measures designed to restrict women’s health and rights including (but not limited to):
- The Pence Amendment — last year, the House voted on (and passed) this amendment that would have would have barred Planned Parenthood from participating in federal health programs.
- The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) — the House voted on (and passed) their own version of VAWA which, despite protests from 320 advocacy groups upset that the bill excludes vulnerable populations, including LGBT and immigrants, from critical protections.
- The Smith Bill — also passed by the House, this bill was an unprecedented attempt to take away comprehensive private health insurance coverage from American women by imposing new taxes on small businesses and individuals.
- Title X — last year, the House voted to eliminate Title X, the nation’s largest family planning program that provides lifesaving and preventive care to more than five million Americans.
With a record like this, it’s hard to take their claims at face value around who is supportive of women and who’s not. Perhaps Congress should focus its efforts on solutions to improve the lives of women and families as opposed to restrictions on women’s rights.