Arizona Congressman Trent Franks’ attempt to push a 20-week “fetal pain” abortion ban in Washington, D.C. (despite the fact that there is no science showing a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks) is at best just another chance for the Republican to show off his anti-choice credentials and allow anti-choice House members to woo their supporters with their love of restrictions on women’s reproductive health. At worst, it’s an attempt to create a piece of legislation which, if it does become law, would provide a direct track to the Supreme Court to challenge Roe V. Wade. There is no evidence for fetal pain in the second trimester of pregnancy, and fetuses are not viable at 20 weeks.
Either way, he’s not intending to let his moment of glory be overshadowed, even if that means refusing to let D.C.’s actual Congressional representative speak on the bill.
On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee will be reviewing a ban on any abortion after 20 weeks, but Democratic Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the District, will not be allowed to testify, despite the fact that she would be the one who represents the women who would be affected by the bill if it passes.
“The post-20-week D.C. abortion ban bill targets an entire group of individuals, women who live in the District of Columbia, and their constitutional rights. Using the women of one congressional district to reach for extreme encroachments on women’s reproductive rights has become a pattern of the House Republican majority, but also reflected nationwide. We will vigorously fight the bullying tactics of the Republican majority against the District’s women, and in standing up for ourselves, we recognize that we are also in the larger fight to protect the reproductive rights of women everywhere.”
According to National Right To Life, however, Congress needs make rules for D.C. if it isn’t willing to make them themselves, because the “forefathers hate abortion.”
“Our nation was created when the original group of sovereign states came together and formed a federated republic. Article I of the U.S. Constitution established that the national seat of government would be placed forever not within any state, but in a special Federal District — and that the Congress would ‘exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District.” But what would the Framers of our Constitution say if they returned today and learned, to their horror, that well-developed unborn babies are legally being put to death, in terrible pain, virtually within the shadow of the U.S. Capitol and the White House?
As of yet, we have not heard exactly who will be allowed to testify. But we can guess that they will be predominately white, predominately male, and not people who actually represent the District of Columbia.