Oppose the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011 (H.R. 3541)
Advocacy Letter - 05/29/12
Source: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Recipient: U.S. House of Representatives
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of over 210 national organizations dedicated to ending discrimination in all aspects of American life, we urge you to oppose H.R. 3541, the “Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011” (PRENDA). We oppose this bill because it does not in any way address discrimination on the basis of sex. Rather, it is a veiled attempt to restrict health care for women of color under the guise of civil rights.
The problem of racial and sex disparities in health care is real. According to a report by Kaiser Family Foundation, 17 percent of African-American women, 27 percent of Latina women and 22 percent of Native American women are in fair or poor health. Additionally,
22 percent of African-American women have less access to contraception, prenatal care and other critical reproductive health services. Instead of addressing these critical issues, this bill exacerbates the disparities by further restricting certain women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care services, scrutinizing the health care decisions of women of color, and penalizing health care providers who serve communities of color. At a time when a record number of women are living in extreme poverty, Congress should take up legislation that would actually alleviate discrimination on the basis of gender and race. Unlike this bill, legislation such as the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act, and The Health Equity Accountability Act protect women from discrimination and empower women of color to make informed, personal health care decisions.
Women and their families continue to bear the negative consequences of persistent sex discrimination. Yet, despite its lofty title, H.R. 3541 does nothing to address the causes or pernicious effects of such discrimination. As the nation’s largest civil and human rights coalition, we have worked for decades to address the longstanding problems of sex discrimination in the United States. While we would welcome the opportunity to work with members of the House to advance meaningful civil rights legislation, we must oppose H.R. 3541, which does nothing to address ongoing discrimination.
Thank you for your consideration.
President & CEO
Executive Vice President