Equality: PRENDA’s failure is a step back for the American woman

If born people are equal to each other, why aren’t unborn people equal at least to one another?

There was a huge push for equality in yesterday’s America. Starting with women’s suffrage in 1920, the public has slowly recognized women as equal to men. For over half a century, equal opportunity employment, equal wages, and equal rights for men and women have been recognized as an American standard.

Discrimination based on gender is generally understood to be poor taste. Look at the disclaimer on any organization’s website or literature, and you’ll see that they claim not to discriminate based on “race, age, religion, ability, marital status, sexual orientation, sex or gender identity.”

Why, then, did the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) fail to pass this week? If born people are equal to each other, why aren’t unborn people equal at least to one another?

PRENDA would have made it a federal offense to (1) perform an abortion at any time in pregnancy, knowing that such abortion was based on the sex or gender of the child, (2) use of force of threat of force…for the purpose of coercing a sex-selective abortion,” (3) solicit or accept funds for the purpose of sex selective abortion, or (4) transport a woman across into the U.S. or across state lines for the purpose of sex selective abortion.

But PRENDA didn’t pass.

Consider the numbers – 77% of Americansoppose sex-selective abortion, which, in short, is what PRENDA is about. It seems that PRENDA would have passed. Especially with all the controversy over women’s rights of late, it seems that Democrats would have grabbed at an obvious opportunity to be “pro-woman.”

But they didn’t. Democrats voted 161-20 against the bill, while Republicans voted for it by 226-7.

The National Organization for Women released a surprising statement yesterday afternoon immediately after PRENDA’s house failure:

Although the bill failed, the National Organization for Women is appalled that lawmakers in the House would sponsor such a deceptive bill in yet another attempt to block women’s access to necessary health care. While the bill purports to support gender equality and civil rights, PRENDA does nothing to address sex discrimination, and instead simply demonizes women seeking abortions.

PRENDA was conceived for the purpose of protecting baby girls – the same little girls who are the future of NOW. It supports gender equality and civil rights because it does not allow one gender or the other to be killed because of gender. With words like “deceptive” and “demonizes,” NOW attacks the foundation which that very organization is built upon: equal rights for men and women.

Still, it might seem like a small matter. Most women seeking abortions are doing so because they don’t want a baby, period, not because they don’t want a girl (or boy). Honestly, is sex-selection really a problem? Is it really happening in America, where equality has long been the standard?

Yes. While the studies do not indicate that it is occurring on a large enough scale to tip national gender balance, census data does indicate that it is occurring on a more limited basis – likely in the thousands. And even a single life lost to this barbaric practice is an injustice that should grab our attention.

Recent investigations by Live Action have shown that unborn girls can be legally targeted by the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood. We’ve heard about gendercide in other countries, but other countries are often too far from home for us to care about. But now, it’s on our doorstep, and we can’t ignore it. Here in America, where equality has long been the standard, girls are being aborted simply for being girls. The standard is equality no more.

Certain segments of America, like many other countries, are showing distorted sex ratios favoring boys, as The Economist reported in March 2010. The impact for China is that they are seeing more and more sex-trafficking, msn.com reports, “as bachelors try to ‘purchase’ their wives.” And while it’s not often talked about, human sex trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry in America.

Is this as far as a century of fighting has gotten the American woman? Women have more rights today than they did in 1920 with women’s suffrage – or at least the born ones do. They have more employment opportunities, they earn better wages. But now, they also can be killed based on gender, something that’s never been acceptable before. Are they any better off?

In many ways, yes. But in some ways, as we saw this week, they are not. It was just yesterday that we wanted our daughters in schools, wanted suffrage for them, and wanted them to play sports – even though they were girls. And now we want to be allowed to kill them…just because they are girls? America, this is not progress.

Women took a huge step backward yesterday, whether we realize it or not. It is a backward step down a slippery slope, a slope that could facilitate an avalanche at any minute. America’s standard of equality is dying with her daughters.

The daughters of today are the mothers of tomorrow. Society cannot – cannot – survive without them.

Suffrage and fair employment practices are a step in the right direction. But today’s equality is only nominal, as PRENDA’s defeat proved. It’s a word Americans enjoy – nothing more. If America took equality seriously, she wouldn’t stand aside and watch while her girls are killed. If America took equality and women’s rights seriously, she’d give her girls the right to birth and life before any others. After birth, the right to vote is just the icing on the cake.

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