Sex-Selection Abortion Debate Drowned Out by 'War on Women' Rhetoric
Image: Photo by Getty Images
Sex-Selection Abortion Debate Drowned Out by 'War on Women' Rhetoric

The House of Representatives failed to pass the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA). The bill originally would have banned abortions based on the race or gender of the child. PRENDA should have easily passed through the Republican-led House, but it was derailed by partisan politics and the debate du jour over the "war on women."

PRENDA was on track for certain (albeit partisan) passage by the House. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) sponsored PRENDA to make it illegal for women to have an abortion because of either the race or sex of the child. The bill had 98 cosponsors. But just as the Judiciary Committee was finalizing the bill, Democrats began accusing Republicans of waging a "war on women." Debates over contraception, state legislative fights over ultrasound bills, and Rush Limbaugh's ad hominem attack on Sandra Fluke gave resonance to Democratic charges at the same time that PRENDA was approved by the Judiciary Committee and reported to the House.

Last week, the Republican leadership announced that PRENDA would come up for a vote. But there was an important catch. The bill would no longer include a ban on race-based abortion, and it would be considered under a suspension of the rules. Suspension is a procedure designed for noncontroversial legislation: Time for debate is limited, and a two-thirds majority is required for passage. According to Republican rules, PRENDA did not qualify for suspension because more than one-third of the Judiciary Committee voted against the bill. But the Republican leadership used its prerogative to waive this rule and bring the bill up for a suspension vote. The leadership, however, said that PRENDA had to be amended so that it was about only sex-based abortion, not race.

Franks said on the House ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Current Issue5 Books More Christian High Schoolers Should Read
5 Books More Christian High Schoolers Should Read Subscriber Access Only
Matthew Farrelly recommends some overlooked classics.
Recommended
Is Suicide Unforgivable?Subscriber Access Only
Question: What is the biblical hope and comfort we can offer a suicide victim's family and friends? —name withheld
Read in English
TrendingThe Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
How the former FBI director’s interest in Reinhold Niebuhr shaped his approach to political power.
Editor's PickThe Greatest Threat to the Church Isn’t Islam—It’s Us
The Greatest Threat to the Church Isn’t Islam—It’s Us
A leading Nigerian theologian believes the real danger to Christianity in Africa is in the church.
Christianity Today
Sex-Selection Abortion Debate Drowned Out by 'War ...
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

June 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.