Indiana Republicans sign on to “Black Genocide” bill

Trent Franks, a Republican Congressman from Arizona, is probably most famous for his groundbreaking historical theory that black Americans were better off under slavery.

But this week, Franks re-introduced his conspiracy theory anti-abortion bill, the grandiosely-named “Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011”. He’s introduced the bill twice before, but, like most of his bills, it’s never made it out of committee. (According to GovTrack, Franks has sponsored 29 bills, and 28 never made it out of committee. No wonder he and the ineffective Mike Pence have so much in common.)

The difference is, this time, it’s got 83 co-sponsors and it’s heading for markup today. Those co-sponsors include Indiana Republicans Dan Burton, Mike Pence, Todd Rokita, and Marlin Stutzman. (Pence was one of 5 co-sponsors in 2008; Pence, Burton, and their disgraced former colleague Mark Souder signed on in 2009.)

Nick Baumann at Mother Jones posted a copy of a House GOP memo promoting the bill with the claim that “abortion is the leading cause of death in the black community.” Baumann sums up the bill:

In addition to banning abortions based on the race or gender of the fetus, H.R. 3514 would give a woman’s family members the ability to sue abortion providers if they believed an abortion was obtained based on race or sex. Critics warn that it would be next to impossible to prove that an abortion was obtained on the basis of race or gender and fear the provision could lead to nuisance suits against abortion providers by family members who are opposed to abortion on principle.

For the anti-abortion, anti-birth control crowd, that’s a feature – not a bug.

The memo also pushes the discredited right-wing claim that birth control is some kind of racist plot:

Even more invidious, a thorough review of the American family planning movement reveals a history of targeting African-Americans for “population control,” arguably resulting in the current statistic that a black baby is five times as likely to be aborted as a white baby.

If you click through to the study cited to to support this claim, it actually argues the exact opposite. The second sentence of that study, published in the Guttmacher Policy Review in 2008, reads: “Antiabortion activists, including some African-American pastors, have been waging a campaign around this fact, falsely asserting that the disparity is the result of aggressive marketing by abortion providers to minority communities.”

But, of course, the entire anti-abortion movement is based on lies and misinformation. In Kansas, even some anti-abortion Republicans are arguing against a proposed law that shields doctors from malpractice if they withhold information that they think might encourage an abortion. The proposed law also promotes the disproven link between breast cancer and abortion. And last year in Indiana, the GOP voted down an amendment to an anti-abortion bill that would have required “medically and scientifically accurate” information be given to women.

If you have to withhold some information and fight against “medically and scientifically accurate” information to get your way, that should be an indication that something is wrong.