House Republicans delayed until Thursday a vote on the controversial Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA). It’s hard to tell if this is a victory or not. The bill is not expected to pass, so when the vote happens doesn’t really matter.
But Republicans are trying really hard to leverage PRENDA into a talking point that the GOP is the party of civil rights and given the subject of the ban–sex selective abortion–it’s exactly the kind of abortion restriction that is easy to spin to a public already fuzzy on the contours of the pro-life/pro-choice divide.
There’s ample evidence to disprove the claims and shine a light on the deep cynicism driving PRENDA and even more analysis on the actual harm these kinds of bans cause in state’s like Arizona where they are already in place. The Guttmacher Institute’s findings show that while sex-selective bans are always passed in the name of promoting civil rights, they have no impact on the entrenched gender bias that underlies the practice.
“Rather than working to address the harmful social and cultural norms that lead to son preference and, as a result, sex-selective abortion, these proposals cynically advance a narrow agenda that starts and ends with banning abortion,” says Sneha Barot, author of the new analysis. “The experience of other countries has clearly demonstrated that such bans are not only ineffective, but they further exacerbate gender discrimination by undermining women’s autonomy and creating additional obstacles to women’s health care.”
No matter what they call it or how they spin it, for Republicans, protecting women’s rights means trying to legislate them out of existence.
Photo from david_jones via flickr.