The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee is preparing to mark up the D.C. 20-week abortion ban, a bill sponsored by House Republican Trent Franks of Arizona, which would ban abortion in the District in almost every circumstance prior to viability, based on the medically dis-proven claim that a fetus feels pain at 20 weeks post-fertilization. But D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is already preparing to fight for her constituents — for their rights to access a legal medical procedure, and not to have their constitutional rights stripped by politicians they didn’t even elect.
Norton said via statement:
“Since this bill was introduced, it has been clear that far-right Republicans, like school-yard bullies, would gang up on the District to attack the women of this country. The post-20-week abortion ban expands their usual tactic of using the District as a poster child for their views by targeting the constitutional reproductive rights of the city’s women, revealing the bill’s true national purpose. The post-20-week abortion ban shows that the contempt of the far right for the law of the land when they disagree with it is matched by their audacity in using the women of the nation’s capital as puppets for a bill at odds with D.C. laws and the views of most Americans. The conservative states that have enacted similar legislation were within their rights to challenge Roe v. Wade under federalist principles of local control. These same local government principles should apply to our city, too, where more than 600,000 full and equal American citizens pay taxes, go to war, and demand to have their laws respected, especially by unaccountable members of Congress. By moving the post-20-week abortion ban only in conservative states, and targeting the District, which has no vote on a bill affecting only its residents, our opponents show that they lack the courage of their own convictions and the courage to make this bill apply nationally, even in a Republican-controlled House. I will not stand by as Republicans, who claim to favor small and local government, attempt to pass legislation affecting my constituents, but not theirs, in an act of disdain for the federalist principles they profess. Fortunately, moving this bill to the floor will quickly alert American women that the D.C. label on this bill is a cover for a bill that seeks to undermine the reproductive rights of the women of the United States.”
Congresswoman Norton isn’t the only one ready to fight the ban, either. The National Organization for Women is also criticizing Rep. Franks and his bill.
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“This can’t be said more clearly: Rep. Franks is not the mayor of Washington, D.C., and he has no place taking private medical decisions away from women in the District of Columbia,” NOW President Terry O’Neill said via press release.
Should the bill make it to the House for a full vote, it will likely pass easily in the Republican, anti-choice dominated chamber. It’s fate is much less certain in the Senate, where Democrats who oppose reproductive rights may be tempted to vote with the GOP rather than protecting women.
If the bill were to become law, it would likely be immediately challenged and, due to the makeup of the court system, travel almost directly to the Supreme Court via appeals.