PRENDA Hearing (HR4925) Opening Statement
The following is Congressman Trent Franks' prepared opening statement for the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice Hearing on HR 4924 the Prenatal Nondscrimination Act held Thursday, April 14, 2016.
Given the subject of this hearing, it seems appropriate to me that we all remind ourselves that the very bedrock foundation principle that gave birth to America in the first place was the conviction that all human beings are children of God and created equal in his sight.
Throughout America’s history, we have struggled to fulfill that conviction in our national life. It took a civil war in this nation to make the 7,000-year-old state-sanctioned practice of human slavery come to an end, and, ultimately, it did so across the world. American women overcame the mindless policy that deprived them of the right to vote in America. Then this nation charged into Europe and arrested the hellish Nazi Holocaust. We crushed the Ku Klux Klan and prevailed in the dark days of our own civil rights struggle.
And, in so many ways, we have made great progress in the area of civil rights in this country. But there is one glaring exception. We have overlooked unborn children and that life itself is the most foundational of all civil rights.
The result is that today in America between 40 and 50 percent of all African American babies, virtually one in two, are killed before they are born, which is a greater cause of death for African Americans than heart disease, cancer, diabetes, AIDS, and violence combined. A Hispanic child is three times more likely to be aborted than a white child. A black child is five times more likely to be aborted than a White child. More than fourteen million black babies have been aborted since Roe v. Wade. It translates to over one-fourth of the African American population in America today.
When you add to that the thousands of little girls who have been aborted in America simply because they are little girls instead of little boys, these are travesties that should assault the mind and conscience of every American.
In the course of the Committee’s investigation into Planned Parenthood, we’ve discovered that it’s training clinic staff to answer questions from patients about sex-selection and race-selection abortions. Planned Parenthood physicians are clearly being confronted with the issue of whether or not a child can knowingly be aborted when the underlying reason is discriminatory. Currently, only eight states prohibit abortions for the reason of sex selection at some point during the pregnancy. My home state of Arizona also prohibits sex selection race-based abortions.
The subject of the hearing today, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, restricts sex-selection abortion and race-selection abortion, and the coercion of a woman to obtain either. The bill holds abortionists who prey on women accountable for their actions while holding the women on whom the abortion is performed harmless under the law. Now, there will be those who say that this bill has a much larger agenda, and let me respond simply by saying that I sincerely and passionately hope that they are right. I truly hope that the debate and passage of this bill will call all Americans, in and outside of Congress, to an inward and heartfelt reflection upon the humanity of unborn children and the inhumanity of what is being done to them in 2016 in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Across human history, the greatest voices among us have always emphasized the critical responsibility of each of us to recognize and cherish the divine light of eternity shining in the soul of every last one of our fellow human beings. In 1847, Frederick Douglass said, ‘‘Right is of no sex, truth is of no color. God is the father of us all, and all are brethren.’’ In Matthew 25, Jesus said, ‘‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’’ Thomas Jefferson said, ‘‘[t]he care of human life and its happiness, and not its destruction, is the chief and only object of good government.’’
Ladies and gentlemen, I know that when the subject is related in any way to abortion the doors of reason and human compassion in our minds and hearts often close and the humanity of the unborn can oftentimes no longer be seen. But this is the civil-rights struggle that will define our generation, and I hope this hearing today will begin to open our minds and hearts again.