01:30 GMT +321 September 2019
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    Supporters of legal access to abortion rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, March 2, 2016, as the Court hears oral arguments in the case of Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, which deals with access to abortion

    House Republicans Push Racist ‘Nightmare’ Abortion Bill

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    The Prenatal Discrimination Act, which bans abortions based on the race or sex of the fetus, was heard on the US House of Representatives committee floor late on Thursday evening.

    Women’s rights advocates have expressed alarm that the bill would force doctors to report patients they suspect of having an abortion for race or gender reasons, regardless of whether those aspects of the fetus are ascertained. They contend that this would force doctors to begin racial profiling and would alter the relationship between doctors and patients.

    “This bill is so horrendous that I could not believe it when it was first brought up,” Representative Judy Chu of California told The Guardian. “It is a nightmare. This is a piece of legislation that would impose criminal penalties on providers and limit the reproductive choices of women of color and all women.”

    Those who are in support of the bill argue that a fetus must be protected from discrimination.

    “It took the civil war to make the state-sanctioned practice of human slavery come to an end,” said Representative Trent Franks, the bill’s sponsor, at a House judiciary subcommittee hearing on Thursday. He claimed there is an exception for racial discrimination against the fetus, declaring, “one glaring exception is life itself, the most foundational civil right of all.”

    The committee, it turns out, is comprised entirely of men.

    “It’s so upside-down,” Chu said. “This shows that this is a male-dominated effort and actually points to the fact that there are men who are trying to stop choice for women.”

    Opponents argue that those proposing this bill do not care about black lives once they are out of the womb, asserting that a hot button issue is being used to pass legislation against women’s rights.

    “These kinds of anti-choicers, or pro-birthers as I like to call them, don’t care about the conditions of our lives like the schools we’re going to, the food we are eating, the environment we are living in,” Monica Simpson, the executive director of SisterSong, the National Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, told The Guardian.

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    Tags:
    Prenatal Discrimination Act, Abortion, Women's Rights, Reproductive Rights, Trent Franks, Judy Chu
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