Remember the ridiculous Susan B Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act? Well, thanks to the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, the Republicans got the bill passed out of committee and out to a general vote. During committee hearings on the bill Democrats tried to get numerous amendments passed including amendments to push back the effective date and address discrimination of pregnant women. They were unable to get most of the proposed amendments included. The only one they were successful in getting passed was an amendment to change the name to simply the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act.
Perhaps the best thing about PRENDA passing out of committee is the fact that with its passing new information is being reported about the insidious nature of the bill. After the website Jezebel ran an article about the bill passing committee it seems one of their more astute readers noticed something in the bill that had so far been left unaddressed.
The bill includes language that will allow someone other than the pregnant person to decide if an abortion is the right decision for them. Specifically it allows for the parent of a minor or the “father” of the fetus to seek civil recourse against a doctor who performs an abortion based on sex or race. According to Jezebel this means that the bill “would theoretically allow a male partner or an underage woman’s parents to file an injunction that would force a woman to remain pregnant by charging her with being motivated to abort by the fetus’s race or sex, regardless of whether that’s what actually motivated the woman.”
I suppose on the bright side it is good that the bill exempts the pregnant person from penalty, but really? Allowing someone other than the pregnant person to decide if and why that person should or should not get an abortion is just sick. Penalizing a doctor for it is even worse. The entire bill is just absurd and really a waste of time as it is unlikely the bill would pass through the Democratic controlled Senate, but still. The fact that this bill managed to pass committee makes me sad.
The near constant attacks from socially conservative politicians on reproductive health are beyond disheartening. Though I admit the past few weeks have shown that when we put our minds to it, we really can be successful at pushing these attacks back. The backlash against Susan G Komen and the Virginia Transvaginal Ultrasound laws have shown us that.