Testifying before a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, Rev. Derek McCoy, a national pro-life and pro-family leader, urged members to consider that a nation failing to protect its most vulnerable members has failed in its highest duty.
McCoy, who serves on the board of directors for Heartbeat International—the world’s largest network of life-affirming pregnancy help—as well as the Maryland Family Alliance, was making his case for the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2016, sponsored by Republican Rep. Trent Franks (Arizona).
“We are at a place where I don’t think we’ve done well in allowing the most unprotected to have protection—and that’s that child that’s preborn,” McCoy, testifying in his capacity as National Director for the Center of Urban Renewal and Education (CURE) on April 14, said. “[The womb] should not be the most dangerous place for a child. I so appreciate the right I had to be born.”
“I don’t think that any person here would say that they are… sorrowful about being able to be born, being able to have constitutional rights given to them. We need to make sure we’re taking care of the most vulnerable in our society.”
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A long-term hope of Rep. Franks, who first brought forward the “Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011,” the current PRENDA bill would make abortions based on race and gender illegal in the United States.
The bill, which also drew Catherine Davis, founder of the National Black Pro-Life Coalition, and Charlotte Lozier Institute associate scholar Anna Higgins as witnesses in its favor, is similar to model legislation produced by Americans United for Life (AUL).
Sex-selective abortion practices in the U.S. have contributed to a current situation where there are more boys being born than girls, according to a March 2008 report published in Columbia University’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences cited in the bill.
The proposed legislation also cites a March 2006 Zogby International poll that found 86 percent of Americans believed that sex-selection abortions should be illegal and a follow-up poll by the Charlotte Lozier Institute in 2012 showed a similar figure of 77 percent in favor a sex-selection ban.
While eight states currently ban sex-selection abortion, including Sen. Franks’ home state of Arizona—the only state that prohibits abortions on the basis of race.
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In his testimony in favor of the bill, McCoy referred to a statement by the then-pro-life Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1977, which opposed abortion on the basis of economic expediency or “emotional incompleteness.”
“If incompleteness where the criteri(on) for taking life, we would all be dead,” Rev. Jackson had said.
Before the Supreme Court made abortion on-demand the law of the land in its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, over 16 million black women have aborted their children, McCoy pointed out.
“If you can justify abortion on the basis of emotional incompleteness, then your logic could also lead you to killing for other forms of incompleteness—blindness, crippleness, old age,” Rev. Jackson had said.
Said McCoy, “We can add to Rev. Jackson’s statement race and gender.”
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“It is ironic that while the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) to the U.S. Constitution abolished discrimination based on race, a more ‘civilized’ 1973 U.S. Supreme Court discriminated against the life of the unborn child, handing down a decision that stripped the most vulnerable among us of rights, once again allowing the powerful to determine exactly who had the right to life,” he said.
Starting with Margaret Sanger's Negro Project in 1939, the organization she founded, Planned Parenthood, has targeted its abortion and birth control services to black and other minority communities, where 79 percent of its clinics are currently located. Abortion in the black community currently kills more babies annually than the other combined causes of death combined.
In early 2015, Live Action released its Planned Parenthood Racism Project, which captured multiple phone calls where Planned Parenthood administrators said they would receive funds designated specifically to abort black babies.
Opposed at the committee hearing by members Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the bill is currently with the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.
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Protecting unborn persons from the violence of abortion based on gender or race, Rep. Franks argued, is in the best interests of all Americans—regardless of party affiliation.
“There was a famous Democrat who was running for president, Mr. [Hubert] Humphrey, that said, ‘Society will be judged by the way it treats those in the dawn of life, those in the shadows of life and those in the twilight of life,’” Rep. Franks said.