The vote on the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act: the Day After, Part One

By Dave Andrusko

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) (R) and Chinese dissident and president of ChinaAid Bob Fu (L) listen to Chen Guangcheng on the phone during a hearing before the Global Health, and Human Rights Subcommittee of House Foreign Affairs Committee May 15, 2012

There is a kind of eerie unreality (even by the standards of the abortion controversy) about the debate over sex-selection abortions in general, and the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (H.R. 3541), in particular. In one sense it’s like two ships passing in the night. In another sense it’s like what happens when arguments which may have carried the day decades ago are imported into a context with the unanticipated consequence of illuminating their inherently brutal absurdity.

Think about this juxtaposition. Last night pro-life Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangchen gave a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, hours after the House voted on H.R. 3541. Chen and his family were persecuted for bringing to light a massive policy of forced abortion and coerced sterilization, part and parcel of China’s “One Child Policy.”  Not only are women still under siege, because ultrasounds make it possible to know the baby’s sex, the combination of governmental pressure and preference for sons means that sex-selection abortion is rampant.

Keep that in mind as we talk about the op-ed (“The Real War on Women”) written by pro-life champion Rep. Chris Smith which appeared in the Washington Post this morning, and the news story about the vote.

At the end of Smith’s brilliant, thoroughly documented, impassioned criticism of gender genocide, the Post (online) has a link to a story written a day or two before.

The headline? I kid you not–“Republican’s abortion bill risks alienating Asian Americans.” Aargh!

Honestly, it’s like you say, “What time is it?” and the response is, “Sunny and 78 degrees.” Unborn babies by the hundreds of millions are summarily executed for one reason and one reason only–they are girls—and the pro-abortion boilerplate response is about the need not to intervene in “private family matters.”

But to be fair there was useful information in the news story the Post ran about the House vote, which garnered 246 votes but not the two-thirds vote required under the fast-track procedure utilized. A small portion of the truth that Congressman Smith had written about had wended its way into Ed O’Keefe’s story.

For example, that “several nations,” including the United Kingdom, Germany, and France, ban sex-selection abortions. And then this reminder from O’Keefe: the “United States has no such law, even though the State Department has published reports critical of other countries, including China, for widely accepting the procedure.”

Sex-selection abortions are common in some Asian and Eastern European countries, he writes, and  “limited studies have found the practice is common among Asian American communities [in the United States], where women cite family pressure to have male children.”

So, (1) at least some nations have grasped that sex-selection abortion makes a farce out of respect for human rights, although not the United States which (properly) has chastised the Chinese—at least when there are pro-life Presidents in office; and (2) such abortions are taking place in the United States.

And that’s where Rep. Smith’s op-ed fleshes out O’Keefe’s barebones statements. Unborn baby girls are being targeted and often their mothers are under enormous pressure to abort them. Not just in South Asia but in  North America as well–and, specifically, in the United States.

Smith cites a study of immigrant Indian women in the United States who had tried to learn their unborn babies’ gender, published in 2011 (www.ucsf.edu/news/2011/05/9903/pressure-bear-sons-leads-some-immigrant-indian-women-sex-selection-abortion-study).  In “’There is such a thing as too many daughters, but not too many sons’: A qualitative study of son preference and fetal sex selection among Indian immigrants in the United States,”  Sunita Puri and three other researchers found “that 40 percent of the women interviewed had terminated prior pregnancies with female fetuses and that 89 percent of women carrying female fetuses in their current pregnancy pursued an abortion.”

Why? Just women exercising their “choice” to abort, right? Not according to Puri.

“One-third of women described past physical abuse and neglect related specifically to their failing to produce a male child. The most common forms of neglect were the withholding of food, water, and rest during a woman’s pregnancy with a female fetus, although women also described being hit, pushed, choked, and kicked in the abdomen in a husband’s attempt to forcibly terminate a pregnancy. Some women reported that they were denied prenatal care if the fetus had been identified as female, and four women reported that their families either did not take them to the hospital when they were in labor with a female child or pick them up after delivery.”

So when you hear nonsense from Planned Parenthood and NARAL and President Obama about the imperative not to “intrude in medical decisions,” remember this. There are far more coerced abortions than the Abortion Industry would ever let on and this is particularly true when the unborn child is a female.

There are a dozen other examples of the weird disconnect between what laws like H.R. 3541 are trying to stop and the excuses offered by pro-abortionists for why sex-selection abortion must go on and on and on. Let me just offer just one, something we talked about Thursday.

Unless you are galactically stupid, or working for NARAL/PPFA, or both, you know that it is simply indefensible to stand on the side of killing unborn babies because they are not of the “preferred” sex. So you get the President’s tortuous explanation why his Administration opposed the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act.

“The Administration opposes gender discrimination in all forms, but the end result of this legislation would be to subject doctors to criminal prosecution if they fail to determine the motivations behind a very personal and private decision. The government should not intrude in medical decisions or private family matters in this way.”

But, of course, the law has no such requirement. The proposed law says  that “nothing in this Act shall be construed to require that a healthcare provider has an affirmative duty to inquire as to the motivation for the abortion, absent the healthcare provider having knowledge or information that the abortion is being sought based on the sex or gender of the child.”

It asserts penalties if the abortionist knowingly performs sex-selection abortions, but only if the abortionist actually has knowledge or information that the abortion is being sought for that reason.  For example, the woman might blurt out to the abortionist that her husband is compelling her to abort the unborn child because she is a girl.

As we discuss in Part Five (“Obama’s Snark Offensive”), Obama is under heavy criticism from a tiny but perhaps growing segment of the press corps which heretofore has found him largely without blemish for acting…well, not to put too fine a point on it….either mean and/or unintelligent. This above statement, trotted out by  White House deputy press secretary Jamie Smith, is either the product of sheer incompetence or assumes reporters are morons. In neither case does it bode well for the President’s future prospects.

As he always does, Rep. Smith summed up what anyone of good conscience (or any conscience) feels about the President’s behavior:

“It is inconceivable to me how our Nobel Prize-winning president utterly refuses to protect little girls from the violence of sex-selection abortion.”

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