Rep. Franks: Sex-Selection Abortion is 'Truest Kind of War Against Women'

By Patrick Burke | May 31, 2012 | 11:07 AM EDT

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), author of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. (AP Photo)

( - Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday that sex-selection abortion, both in the United States and worldwide, is an “evil practice” and “the truest kind of war against women.”

Franks’ comments came during debate on the House floor on Wednesday concerning a bill he is sponsoring -- the Pre-Natal Non-Discrimination Act (PRENDA) -- that would ban all abortions that occur on the basis of gender.

“It is my hope that by protecting unborn children from being aborted based on their sex, that one day very soon we will also recognize the humanity and justice of protecting unborn children regardless of their race or color as well and simply because we recognize them as fellow human beings,” Franks said.

“This evil practice has now allowed thousands of little girls in America and millions of little girls across the world to be brutally dismembered, most of them in their second or third trimester when they were capable of feeling extreme pain simply because they were little girls instead of little boy," said Franks.

He added: “Sex selection is violence against women and it is the truest kind of war against women.”

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) cited a video released by the organization Live Aid on Tuesday, which she said purports to expose a Planned Parenthood employee in Austin, Texas, telling a young woman reportedly pregnant with a baby girl how to have an abortion if she would rather have a boy.

“A vote against ending sex-selection abortion is a vote in favor of gender bias and female ‘gendercide,’” Blackburn said Wednesday on the House floor. "(I)t’s sick, it’s discriminatory, it’s sexist, and it’s blatantly anti-woman and anti-human.”

Congressional Democrats spoke out against the bill.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said PRENDA “plays well to the far right-wing base,” and the further infringement on a woman’s right to choose is a “flagrantly unconstitutional position under Roe v. Wade.”

Nadler added that a doctor would be subject to “unnecessary legal troubles” if the intentions of a woman to have an abortion were misunderstood, and this bill does nothing to help women who are pressured to have abortions because of the baby’s gender, he said.

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, spoke out in opposition to PRENDA.

“This measure before us does absolutely nothing to empower women to make important life choices free from any family or community pressures they now face either to have an abortion or to carry the pregnancy to term,” said Conyers.

Franks introduced the bill under “suspension of the rules,” which means it will require a two-thirds majority of all representatives in the House to pass once it is brought up for a vote.

If enacted, PRENDA would criminalize abortions that are a direct result of discrimination on the basis of gender. Those who perform these types of abortions could face both monetary fines and be sentenced up to 5 years in prison.

The bill references a 2008 study from Columbia University that found evidence of sex-selection abortions in the United States, many of which occurred because a woman or couple did not want to give birth to a girl and would have preferred a boy.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins commended the efforts of Franks to ban sex-selection abortions in the United States.

“Under Franks' bill, H.R. 3541, the U.S. would join most industrial democracies in outlawing gender-based abortion. Believe it or not, all but four states -- Illinois, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Arizona -- allow it,” said Perkins in a FRC newsletter.

Additionally, the National Right to Life Committee is encouraging private citizens to call their congressmen and urge them to support PRENDA.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney did not provide a comment when asked by Jake Tapper of ABC News whether the Obama administration has taken a position on PRENDA. correspondent Amanda Swysgood contributed to this report.

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