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February 16, 2012

House Judiciary Committee Takes Attacks on Choice to Divisive New Lows

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill introduced by anti-choice Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) that is a clear intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship and perpetuates stereotypes about immigrant communities and communities of color.

“No woman’s reproductive choices should be subjected to more scrutiny or control based on her racial or ethnic background,” Nancy Keenan said. “These efforts represent cynical politics at their worst, and are out of touch with our nation’s values and priorities.

The Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011, essentially turns doctors into mind readers by subjecting a doctor to up to five years in prison for failing to determine if race or sex is a factor in a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy.

“The Franks bill exploits the very real problems of racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination while failing to offer any genuine solutions that would eliminate disparities in health care access and information,” Keenan continued. “Rather than attacking a woman’s right to choose, lawmakers with a sincere interest in addressing racism and sexism should support policies that work to combat the bias and stereotypes that continue to plague our society. This alternative approach would unify – not divide – our country and could achieve important advances without threatening doctors with jail time or intruding on the fundamental right of privacy.”

Keenan also said Rep. Franks currently has a five-percent rating from the NAACP on civil rights; has voted against the equal-pay bill; voted not to extend the State Children’s Health Insurance Program; and backed efforts to cut funding for prenatal care and contraception.

Passage of this bill is yet another example of how the U.S. House of Representatives’ priorities are out of touch with the country’s values and priorities. In 2011, the House held eight votes on choice-related issues (the highest number in a decade).

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