200832 True race and gender equality: A reproductive justice response to a proposed federal bill to ban abortion for sex selection and "race selection"

Monday, November 9, 2009

Miriam Yeung , National Asian and Pacific American Women's Forum, Brooklyn, NY
In the 110th Congress in 2008, Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced a bill dubbed the “Susan B. Anthony Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act,” which, if enacted, would ban abortions based on sex selection and what Rep. Franks termed “race selection.” The bill purported to promote non-discrimination and support a human rights approach but was, in fact a veiled attempt to erode abortion rights and drive a wedge among the feminist, pro-choice, and racial justice communities. Rep. Franks claimed that the high rate of abortions among African American women amounted to “race selection,” disregarding the root causes leading to unintended pregnancies and disparities in abortion rates. Furthermore, the bill included misinformation about international perspectives on sex selection, and implementation would not in any way address son preference, the root cause of sex selection. The passage of such a bill would likely have led to the questioning of Asian Pacific Islander and African American women of their reasons for seeking an abortion. Rather than address health disparities and the need for culturally competent medical care for all women, the bill would have isolated and stigmatized certain communities — especially the Asian and African American communities— from utilizing their fundamental human right to make decisions about their reproductive lives. This presentation will discuss the strategies that reproductive justice organizations used to address the bill, namely the cross-movement dialogue and organizing between reproductive rights and justice, social justice, racial justice, and LGBT organizations.

Learning Objectives:
• Discuss root causes of and international perspectives on sex selection. • Explain that race selection is a myth. • Assess the impact of cross-movement organizing in opposing this type of legislation.

Keywords: Genetics, Reproductive Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: * My organization was a co-convener of the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act Strategy Meeting in December 2008. I facilitated several discussions on how to use cross-movement communication and organizing to address this type of bill. During the meeting I also learned from and participated in discussions on what sex selection is and why race selection does not exist.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.