Majority of Minnestoa's U.S. House delegation supported sex-based abortion ban
- Blog Post by: Corey Mitchell
- June 1, 2012 - 8:06 AM
The U.S. House on Thursday rejected legislation that would ban abortions based on the sex of the fetus, but five of Minnesota’s U.S. House members supported the bill.
The legislation would have made it a federal crime to perform or force a woman to undergo a sex-based abortion, a practice common in countries where families wanting sons abort female fetuses.
Republicans Reps. Michele Bachmann, Chip Cravaack, John Kline and Erik Paulsen supported the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) along with Rep. Collin Peterson, one of 20 Democrats who voted for the bill.
“As a supporter of life from conception to natural death, I was proud to vote in favor of PRENDA that protects both baby boys and baby girls in the womb,” Bachmann said in a statement. “I’m a mother of three biological girls and two biological boys and I know that each gender is a gift from God.”
Democratic U.S. Reps. Betty McCollum and Tim Walz voted against the bill. Fellow Democrat Rep. Keith Ellison did not vote; he's in Minneapolis for a son's graduation.
The bill had little chance of becoming law because the Democratic-controlled Senate would likely have ignored it. Facing public pressure from Democratic claims that Republicans are waging a war on women, conservative lawmakers tried to strike back by portraying the vote as a women's rights issue.
The White House, most Democrats and abortion rights groups opposed the bill, saying it could lead to racial profiling, limit a woman’s right to choose and subject doctors who don’t report suspected sex-selection abortions to criminal charges.
The legislation would have made it a federal crime, subject to up to five years in prison, to perform, solicit funds for or coerce a woman into having a sex-selection abortion. While doctors would not have been required to ask a woman her motivations for an abortion, health workers could have faced up to a year behind bars for not reporting known or suspected violations of the ban on sex-based abortions.
An earlier version of the bill also made it illegal to abort a fetus based on race.
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