President Barack Obama opposes House legislation to ban abortions due to the sex of the baby.
“The Administration opposes gender discrimination in all forms, but the end result of this legislation would be to subject doctors to criminal prosecution if they fail to determine the motivations behind a very personal and private decision,” White House deputy press secretary Jamie Smith told ABC News’ Jake Tapper in a statement Wednesday evening. “The government should not intrude in medical decisions or private family matters in this way.”
The Prenatal Non-Discrimation Act (PRENDA), sponsored by Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks, would ban abortions on the basis of gender or race, while also making the coercion of a woman to obtain a sex-based abortion illegal.
Pro-choice groups such as NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood adamantly oppose the legislation, arguing that it will restrict access to abortions. Planned Parenthood officially endorsed Obama for re-election on Wednesday, and announced a $1.4 million ad buy on his behalf.
“Rather than attacking a woman’s right to choose, lawmakers with a sincere interest in addressing gender bias should support policies that work to combat the bias and stereotypes that continue to plague our society,” Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “This alternative approach would unify – not divide – our country and could achieve important advances without taking away any woman’s right to make her own personal, private medical decisions.”
According to pro-life groups, PRENDA is an essential piece of legislation that must be passed.
“This is a real war on women,” Americans United for Life president Charmaine Yoest said Wednesday. “There is nothing pro-woman about killing a baby girl because she is female, and putting her mother’s health and safety at risk in the process.”
A poll released this month by the pro-life Lozier Institute found that 77 percent of respondents would support a law banning sex-selective abortions.
The House is expected to vote Thursday on PRENDA.
*Correction: An earlier version of this story referenced an earlier version of the PRENDA. The current bill only bans sex-selective abortions.