Doctors to House: So-Called “Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act” Would Only Hurt Women and Their Access to Care
“[This bill] shows how out of touch many lawmakers are with the realities of women’s lives and how little they truly care about preventing gender bias.”—Dr. Douglas Laube
New York, NY—This evening, the House of Representatives will vote on the “Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011” (H.R. 3541). To preserve the decision-making power of pregnant women in the United States, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH) urges members of Congress to defeat the bill. Under the guise of eliminating sex-selective abortions, H.R. 3451 would instead undermine the trust between women and their doctors; jeopardize women’s access to safe, legal abortion; and punish physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals. Board chair Douglas Laube, MD, MEd, explains why H.R. 3451 would interfere with patients’ medical care across the United States while failing to achieve its ostensible goal:
“PRCH’s network of physicians provides comprehensive reproductive health care every day that helps women of all races, ethnicities, economic levels, and religious backgrounds achieve their education and life goals, plan their pregnancies, and become parents when they are ready. The ‘Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011’ (H.R. 3541) shows how out of touch many lawmakers are with the realities of women’s lives and how little they truly care about preventing gender bias.
“H.R. 3541 disregards what we know about women’s motivations for seeking abortion care in the United States. As physicians, we talk with our pregnant patients about all of their pregnancy options and make sure the decision to have an abortion is fully informed and not coerced.
“We know, after countless conversations with women seeking abortions, that many complex factors contribute to women’s decisions to end their pregnancies. Although particular circumstances vary from woman to woman, we hear a resounding theme: responsibility. Our patients understand fully what it means to be a mother; many of them already have children. They cannot imagine bringing a child into the world whom they are not prepared to raise.
“We aid women suffering from serious health conditions and for whom pregnancy can be deadly—they have abortions not only to stay alive but also to remain healthy for the families who depend on them. We help women find the contraceptive best suited to them so that they can avoid unintended pregnancy (and abortion) altogether.
“We are proud to offer this care because we trust women to make the decisions that affect their health and lives. H.R. 3541 distorts the concepts of equality and rights by asking us to scrutinize the decision-making of certain populations. And if we fail to do so, H.R. 3541 would subject us to the risk of serious criminal penalties.
“PRCH stands against gender-based discrimination and opposes the use of sex selection to further gender bias. Leading organizations with expertise in international human rights have concluded that the root causes of gender discrimination must be the focus in order to prevent gender-biased sex selection. H.R. 3541 would do nothing to address the underlying issue of gender inequality, showing that the sponsors’ true purpose is to pass yet another piece of legislation attacking safe and legal abortion in the United States. PRCH calls on lawmakers to stop threatening women’s health care and prevent H.R. 3541 from becoming law.”
DR. LAUBE IS AVAILABLE FOR COMMENT.
Help us recognize Eve Espey, MD, MPH, and Willie Parker, MD, MPH, MSc, at the 2013 Rashbaum-Tiller Abortion Provider Awards.
Video: Pre-Roe Doctors
The documentary Voices of Choice features physicians and advocates who witnessed women's suffering before Roe v. Wade. They helped as many women as they could obtain safe abortions.
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PRCH is a doctor-led national advocacy organization. We use evidence-based medicine to promote sound reproductive health policies. We believe in reproductive choice for everyone.
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“Women do not enter into the decision to terminate a pregnancy lightly. Yes, there are women who use abortion as a method of birth control, and yes, they are rarer than hen’s teeth.”
William K. Rashbaum, MD, from “In His Own Words”
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