“Gotcha” Video & Pro-Life Bill Released Together

As predicted, Lila Rose and Live Action Films released a new “gotcha” video aimed at Planned Parenthood just in time for a vote on the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PREDNA).

To bring you up to speed on PREDNA, this from my reporting for RD earlier this month:

Recently, one group has escalated these hoax visits in many states, apparently using secret recorders while inquiring about sex-selection abortions. We anticipate that this group, likely in coordination with a broad range of anti-choice leaders, will soon launch a propaganda campaign with the goal of discrediting Planned Parenthood, and, ultimately, furthering legislation that blocks access to basic reproductive health care, including birth control.

The unnamed group referred to here is assumed to be Lila Rose’s Live Action, whose “pimps and sex slaves” hoax visits to Planned Parenthood won her and her campaign a spot at the forefront of anti-abortion activism. As Amanda Marcotte has observed, it now appears that Lila Rose is intent on proving that “Planned Parenthood is eagerly targeting fetuses for being female.”

As for the legislation this wannabe sting action is intended to support? Look no further than the pending Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA).

Religious right champion Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona introduced the so-called “Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act” (H.R. 3541) on December 1, 2011; he had tried and failed to get a similar bill out of committee in 2008. This is the same bill that cast abortion as “black genocide,” helping fuel a 2010 Atlanta billboard campaign depicting African American children as an “endangered species.”

And, coincidentally one day after Rose released the video, the House Majority called for a vote on PRENDA

Republican leaders have scheduled a vote on H.R. 3541, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), under a suspension of House rules, which will require a two-thirds majority vote for passage. Suspension votes are usually reserved for non-controversial bills, but Republican leaders have occasionally used the process for bills that Democrats oppose, and the PRENDA bill appears to be one of those. (The Hill)

I spoke with a representative of Mr. Cantor’s office today to determine if the bill was in fact going to come up for a vote on Wednesday. It already appeared on the calendar but after putting me on hold twice, I was told they couldn’t say if the bill was going to be voted on tomorrow or not. 

Now, this could be simply because as house votes go – or any votes really – the timing can be slippery; a bill can come to the floor and then be tabled, a vote can roll over from one day to the next. Having dealt with legislator’s offices before, this level of opacity from Cantor’s group seemed completely unnecessary. Perhaps it is because the bill is so offensive.

As mentioned in The Hill a suspension vote is typically used for non-controversial bills. But, in addition it only allows for 40 minutes of debate and has minimal provisions for amendments. It also requires a two-thirds majority vote.

The bill’s sponsor and staunch right wing Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) posted this about PREDNA earlier this year:

“Our innate sense of human fairness should make it abundantly clear that aborting a little baby because he or she happens to be black or because he or she has been arbitrarily deemed ‘lesser’ is fundamentally wrong, representing a betrayal of the precious truth that all men are created equal and are stamped with the Imago Dei on their souls.

“I am convinced this is the civil rights battle that will define our generation, and, by the grace of God, I look forward to this vital measure’s consideration on the House floor and its ultimate passage.”

This is part of the story. Policymakers and sting video makers; its their belief in a specific God and what He mandates. But this is not about protecting “little girls” as is posited by Rose, Franks and the rest. It is about circulating a false alarm in an election year. It is about arming the like-minded religious right activists with deceptive ammunition to further curb – and ultimately end – a woman’s right to choose. 

Miram Yeung, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (who testified against this bill last year) told me PRENDA will become, “A communication point for those who would end all abortion.” A showpiece.

But, because the suspension rules call for a two-thirds majority for passage, Yeung remains hopeful the bill won’t pass, “It could work in our favor as two-thirds would mean they [Republicans] would have to siphon off some Democrats.” 

You can track the bill here. And look for calendar updates on Representative Cantor’s website here.

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