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The proposal:

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., an outspoken pro-life advocate, is preparing to do battle again on Capitol Hill.

On Tuesday, he’ll chair a House hearing in support of his latest legislative effort, the Prenatal NonDiscrimination Act (PreNDA). The measure would ban abortions done on the basis of gender or race.

“It would simply say that you cannot discriminate against the unborn by subjecting them to an abortion based on their race or sex,” Franks says.

The response from Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“This bill is a cynical and offensive attempt to evoke race and sex discrimination when actually it’s about taking women’s rights away,” said Northup.

She says that protecting young girls from sex-selection abortions is “about taking women’s rights away.” We don’t know whether she has a position on racial discrimination. I suppose she probably does. I’ve done a web search on her name and on the name of the House bill, though, and I can’t find anything on that.

Anyway, I find her response patently absurd. I could even consider it comical in a way, if I could get past its injustice, its coldly hypocritical cynicism, its rhetorical manipulativeness, and its deadly background and intentions. She’s claiming to defend the rights of women, but she’s willing to throw baby girls under the bus for them.

Clearly she’s not supporting females’ rights. She has a particular and exclusive interest in the rights of “women,” meaning, females old enough to bear children. Of course that’s why we protect individuals’ rights, isn’t it—so that we can take care of the physically mature and able, at the expense of the weak? No. That’s as upside-down, legally and historically, as any view of rights could possibly be.

I can’t imagine what she thinks about girls’ rights. I’m thinking about, say, nine-year-olds.

Something seems unseemly and inappropriate about that question, as if it really shouldn’t be asked. I’m trying to track down why it feels that way. Maybe the question is sexist. I can’t imagine what would be wrong with that, though, when the rhetoric is already sexist (“women’s rights”). Is it age-ist, then? But Northup approves of age-ism—it’s only those who are of childbearing age who have “women’s rights”—so that ought to be okay, too. Sexism is fine. Age-ism is fine. Killing babies is fine. What’s not fine anymore?

The abortion rights lobby has always been about the powerful trampling on the defenseless. Formerly its members could play it the other way around, as if it were about protecting women, as the historically politically underprivileged sex. How do they think they can maintain the pretense now?

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