Federal Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act 2015 (S. 48)
This law was last updated on Oct 29, 2018
As of January 12, the bill text for S 48 has not been released. The below summary is based upon S 138, which was introduced by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and failed to pass in 2013.
S 138, also known as PRENDA, would ban sex-selective abortions.
The bill would impose criminal penalties on anyone who knowingly or knowingly attempts to: (1) perform an abortion knowing that the abortion is sought based on the sex or gender of the fetus, (2) use force or the threat of force to intentionally injure or intimidate any person for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection abortion, (3) solicit or accept funds for the performance of such an abortion, or (4) transport a patient into the United States or across a state line for the purpose of obtaining such an abortion.
The bill defines “sex-selection abortion” as an abortion undertaken to eliminate a fetus based on the sex or gender of the fetus.
The bill excludes from the definition of “abortion” actions taken to terminate a pregnancy if the intent is to save the life or preserve the health of the fetus, remove a dead fetus caused by spontaneous abortion, or remove an ectopic pregnancy.
The bill would authorize civil actions and injunctive relief.
The bill also would require a medical or mental health professional to report known or suspected violations to law enforcement authorities and would impose criminal penalties for a failure to so report. A health-care provider would not have an affirmative duty to inquire as to the motivation for the abortion.
Sex-selection abortions are not a widespread problem in the United States. However, anti-choice activists cite three studies documenting the use of sex-selection abortion primarily among a small number of immigrant women. The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum notes that a ban similar to the proposed Texas ban “targets and thus limits reproductive health access for Asian American & Pacific Islander women, who anti-choicers say are the ones guilty of this abortion practice. We know the real solution to ending the preference for sons in some families is getting to the root of the problem: gender inequity. If lawmakers truly want to help us, we call on them to promote equal pay, access to education, health equity, and ending violence against women.”
Similar to H.R. 4924.
In 2012, Sen. Vitter introduced a similar bill (S 3290), but it failed to make it out of committee. Sen. Vitter introduced the bill again in 2013 (S 138), but again, it failed to make it out of committee.