A dangerous and discriminatory bill is being heard in the House Judiciary Committee subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice today. Here's what you need to know: The Franks bill (PRENDA HR 4924) is just another attempt to ban safe, legal abortion. How? By targeting and discriminating against women of color and immigrant women. But that's not all. The bill also furthers dangerous cultural stereotypes around these communities by purporting to ban abortion based on race or sex.
A similar and deeply unpopular bill was recently passed in Indiana, prompting thousands to to protest at the state capital. The now-law could also criminalize doctors and bans abortion based on race or sex.
“The Franks bill is trying to invent a problem that doesn’t exist. Planned Parenthood works to advance equity and human rights for people of all backgrounds, which is exactly why we condemn and oppose this bill. The Franks Bill does nothing to address real issues of racism and inequity women of color and immigrant communities face. Instead, this is just yet another attempt to ban safe, legal abortion. If politicians want to focus efforts on solving real problems of health inequity, they would direct their time and efforts to addressing real issues like equal pay, expanding access to health care, or addressing the rapidly progressing health care crisis of the Zika virus."
—Dana Singiser, Vice President of Public Policy for Planned Parenthood Action Fund
The bill further ignores the disproportionate burden that women of color and immigrant women already face when it comes to accessing adequate and timely health care. Rather than seeking to reduce disparities, the bill would further stigmatize and restrict the comprehensive health care services available to women.
These proposals create a chilling effect on the quality and efficacy of care women of color receive. There is limited and inconclusive evidence that immigrants from countries where there is a widespread practice of sex selection are obtaining sex selective abortions. Bans like this one:
- Open the door for politicians to further intrude into the personal health decisions of women,
- Set a dangerous precedent for defining what reasons are or are not acceptable for women seeking an abortion, and
- Could lead to more restrictions on access to safe, legal reproductive healthcare for women.
To advance the real interest of women of color, Congress should work to ensure all women have meaningful access to the range of health services and rights they need to live and improve their lives.
Planned Parenthood works to advance equity and human rights for people of all backgrounds in the delivery of health care. The world’s leading human rights organizations, including the World Health Organization, have issued a joint statement concluding that curtailing access to abortion services is not a legitimate means of addressing sex selection, and that gender bias can only be resolved by addressing the underlying conditions that lead to it.
So far, in the 114th Congress there have been 21 anti-women's health votes.
By comparison, in the entire 113th Congress there was a total of just 6 anti-women's health votes and in the 112th there were 12 anti-women's health votes;
In the House alone, there have been 8 anti-women’s health votes just since the end of the August recess;
Of these anti-women’s health votes, 9 have been to defund Planned Parenthood;
3 votes to defund Planned Parenthood have happened in the Senate;
6 votes to defund Planned Parenthood have happened in the House.