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Five Things the House is Doing to Attack Choice

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Last week, a divisive bill introduced by anti-choice Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) failed to pass the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rep. Franks calls his bill the "Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act" (PreNDA), but contrary to its title, it does nothing to end sex discrimination or gender inequity.

All forms of reproductive coercion are wrong -- including societal pressures to have a child of a particular sex.

But the Franks bill exploits the very real problems of sex discrimination and gender inequity while failing to offer any genuine solutions that would eliminate disparities in health-care access and information. PreNDA could subject a doctor to up to five years in prison for failing to determine if sex is a factor in a woman's decision to terminate a pregnancy.

This bill represents cynical politics at their worst. That's why the NAACP, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF), and other leading organizations in the civil-rights, faith, and medical communities publicly opposed this divisive attack.

Some observers and pundits are under the impression that the Franks bill is an isolated incident. After all, anti-choice leaders of the House who in 2011 held the most choice-related floor votes in more than a decade should have gotten the message, via the gender gap, that the public does not support this agenda.

Some might have that impression -- and it might make sense, but again, we're talking about right-wing members of the House.

Franks' PreNDA bill is just the first of five measures lined up for floor action that include anti-choice provisions.

Abortion Ban Targeting Women in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Franks is also leading an attack on Washington, D.C., women's right to choose.

He's pushing a bill in the House to ban abortion care at 20 weeks in the District of Columbia, without consideration for the woman's situation, including health-threatening conditions or in cases of rape, incest, or fetal anomaly.

And when Rep. Franks held a hearing on the bill, he didn't even allow Washington, D.C.'s elected representative, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, to testify against it.

The "Arrest Grandma" Act

Also making its way through the House is the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA), a.k.a. the "Arrest Grandma" Act.

The "Arrest Grandma" Act would make it a federal crime for anyone other than a parent -- such as a loving grandmother, aunt, or clergy member -- to accompany a young woman to another state for abortion care. It also would force doctors to learn and enforce 49 other states' parental-involvement laws -- under the threat of fines and prison sentences.

Under the "Arrest Grandma" Act, young women who come from violent or abusive homes could find themselves unable to turn to any trusted adult.

Inserting Anti-Abortion Politics into Homeland Security

Anti-choice lawmakers have even stuck attacks on women's health into a Homeland Security spending bill.

Last month, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) introduced an amendment to restrict access to abortion care for women in immigration detention facilities. Under Aderholt's original amendment, survivors of incest in these facilities would lose access to abortion care.

Apparently, denying abortion care to incest survivors is now a matter of national security.

The Global War on Women

Anti-choice lawmakers are also trying their hardest to target women living overseas. They inserted language into a foreign-aid bill that makes it harder for the world's poorest women to get birth control.

These politicians are pushing to bring back the global gag rule, which barred USAID funds from going to any organization that provides abortion care, or even took a public pro-choice position. President Obama repealed this outrageous policy his first week in office, but anti-choice lawmakers in the House want it back.

So, there you have it: in the first five months of 2012, the anti-choice House leadership has lined up no fewer than five separate bills with anti-choice provisions for floor action.

It's amazing they can keep a straight face when they say there's no War on Women.