Sen. David Vitter may have skipped yesterday's procedural vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), but he's pretty sure he knows what the bill needs the most: an anti-abortion amendment. Vitter, according to a Huffington Post report, would like to introduce a sex-selective abortion ban as an amendment to ENDA.
Wondering what Vitter's bill has to do with a measure that would prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual or gender orientation? So are a lot of people. Except there is one connection: their names might be kind of similar. The employment bill is commonly known by its acronym, ENDA. In previous iterations, Vitter's anti-abortion bill has gone into the world as the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, or PRENDA. See?
PRENDA, when it was first introduced in 2012 would have criminalized sex-selective abortions with a five-year prison term for any doctors performing them. Vitter said at the time that he believes some immigrants to the U.S. are engaging in "female feticide” on U.S. soil, and that his law would stop that practice. Some anti-abortion legislators disagree with the bill, especially from the Ron Paul and the conservative libertarian wing of the party. Earlier, Paul argued that the measure would only result in abortion-providing clinics "simply plac[ing] a sign in their waiting room" with the law's prohibitions. Further, Paul believes, the bill is unconstitutional. But it's gained otherwise broad support from the anti-abortion movement at large.
ENDA advanced in the Senate on Monday after gaining 61 votes, overcoming an assumed filibuster by some Senate Republicans. Some of the handful of Republicans supporting the measure were reportedly swayed by the promise of additional religious exemption amendments to be added to the bill later. With or without Vitter's anti-abortion amendment, it's unlikely ENDA will become law after this round of congressional votes: House Speaker John Boehner has already announced his opposition to the bill.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.