When banning abortion is a cover for discrimination: The selective abortion issue
This is the ninth in the blog series by Morgan Healey, immediate past President of ALRANZ, who has recently returned to the US. It aims to bring to life the uniquely absurd state of reproductive rights and justice in the US.
A bill was recently introduced in the US Congress that would impose criminal penalties on any provider that performed an abortion because the pregnant person did not want to give birth to or raise a child of a particular sex or race. In other words, the law would outlaw sex and race selective abortions. This is not a new concept. This particular legislation has been debated before and there are already eight sex selective abortion bans and one race selective abortion ban enacted at the state level (See Guttmacher’s State Policies in Brief).
The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act 2016(HR 4924), commonly referred to as PRENDA, unsurprisingly does the exact opposite of what is says on the tin. That’s right. Don’t let the title fool you. Hidden under a thinly veiled guise of disingenuity is a bill designed to discriminate, to infantilise, and to police the bodies of non-white people in the US. (Read Rewire’s coverage of the Congressional testimony here.)
What is the likely outcome when medical professionals, fearing that they might be criminally penalized for performing a simple medical procedure, one they were specially trained to perform, are presented with a non-white, pregnant person seeking an abortion? I will go out on a limb here and say the person will be refused care, while simultaneously discriminating against based on their skin colour.