Rep. Trent Franks Plays From His Own Set of “Facts”

D.C. Mayor… oops! I mean Arizona GOP Congressman Trent Franks has a whole lotta abortion regulation on his mind.  So-called fetal pain bans, so-called prenatal “non-discrimination” acts, it’s almost like he thinks of nothing but abortion all the time.

According to his home state, that’s pretty much the case. Calling him the “quintessential single-issue politician,” The Arizona Republic notes that even at the beginning of his legislative career Franks “was known almost exclusively as a one-note, anti-abortion politician.”

Now, he’s starting to get a little huffy about the accusation, and about critics questioning his motives.  Responding to a local Arizona columnist, Franks justifies his actions in forcing his own agenda on residents that didn’t elect him with bravado and a whole lot of lies.

“Congress has the seminal and incontrovertible responsibility for making legislative policy in the District of Columbia. Those who pretend to question that are in fact trying to direct attention away from the true purpose of this bill, which is to help prevent unborn children beginning at the sixth month of pregnancy and beyond from being subject to the agonizing process of being aborted.

“If Congress does not pass this law, DC could become a safe-haven for late-term abortionists across the country, including those who have been stripped of their licenses for negligence or ethics violations in the states.  Many states have passed this bill already, and I believe that most states will pass it in the near future, including my state, Arizona.   

Medical science proves that the unborn feel pain by at least 20 weeks and perhaps much earlier.  There is no disagreement in the medical community as to this point.  My office can furnish much incontrovertible research to support this finding.” [emphasis added]

He’s right that the medical community sees no disagreement on fetal pain, but it’s not in his favor.  Multiple studies, as well as reviews of multiple studies, all confirm there is no evidence that fetuses have the capacity to feel pain until the third trimester.

Still, what else do you expect from a man who brought in three witnesses from the medical community who stated under oath that their belief that a fetus can feel pain prior to 20 weeks was the “majority view” of medical professionals, and that the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Royal College of Obstetritians and Gyneacologists were the minority view. I mean, whadda they know, right?

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  • douglasjohnson

    That “[review] of multiple studies” missed quite a few.  There are many highly credentialed medical authorities whose findings support the position that the unborn child has the capacity to experience pain well before “the third trimester.”  You can read some of their statements in this 29-page summary of quotations from numerous studies:

    The selectivity of the “review” is not too surprising, once you become aware of the backgrounds and livelihoods of the various authors of the “review,” which JAMA did not disclose.  The “review” was debunked by Dr. Kanwaljeet S. Anand and others:

    Dr. Anand, as you may or may not know, is the most eminent name in the annals of research on the pain-perception capacities of unborn and prematurely born newborn humans.  He is the researcher whose groundbreaking work transformed the way that premature infants are treated in neonatal units, with respect to pain control.  You can read an extended profile of him in The New York Times Magazine, here:

    Dr. Anand swore in a affidavit accepted as expert by a federal judge, “It is my opinion that the human fetus possesses the ability to experience pain from 20 weeks of gestation, if not earlier, and that pain perceived by a fetus is possibly more intense than that perceived by newborns or older children.”  You can read the affidavit here:

    You also have to reckon with the fact that infants born as early as 22 weeks (LMP dating) now often survive long term in neonatal intensive care units.  Neonatologists confirm that they react negatively to painful stimuli — for example, by grimacing, withdrawing, and whimpering.  When they must receive surgical procedures, they are given drugs to prevent pain.  This research was summarized for a U.S. House Judiciary subcommittee panel on May 17, 2012, by a professor of neonatology from Northwestern University.  You can read it here:

    Douglas Johnson
    Legislative Director
    National Right to Life Committee
    Washington, D.C.
    federallegislation // at // nrlc, dot, org

  • jennifer-starr

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall the citizens of DC ever electing Mr. Franks or asking him to write their legislation. Surely he must have things to do in Arizona with the people who actually did elect this fool–like–oh I don’t know–something with jobs? 

  • oak-cliff-townie

    Adopted any kids ?

  • douglasjohnson

    The U.S. Constitution specifically established a federal district that would be outside of every state and directly under the control of federal lawmakers.  That federal district, now known as the District of Columbia, was established by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which also provides that Congress shall “exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District . . .”  Trent Franks is a member of Congress and therefore shares that constitutional responsibility, along with the many other constitutional responsibilities held by members of Congress.


    Mr. Franks also works tirelessly for the interests of the Second Congressional District of Arizona, in which he is very highly regarded, as demonstrated by the 65% of the vote that he garnered in the 2010 election. 


    Douglas Johnson, NRLC

  • douglasjohnson

    Three.  One of the three was born to an unwed mother in the District of Columbia. 


    But why do you ask?  Do you think it bears on the 29-page summary of scientific studies that support pain perception in the unborn child?


    Douglas Johnson, NRLC

  • jennifer-starr

    Can the citizens of DC vote in his next election? 

  • oak-cliff-townie

    Good for you .

    So are you Bothered that someone wants to tend to your business as you seem to want to tend to others ?

     Adopted Dad Of 1 here .

  • douglasjohnson

    To vote for any of the 435 voting members of the House of Representatives, one must establish residency in a congressional district.  All congressional districts, by constitutional definition, are in states.  The District of Columbia, as explained above, was deliberately created to be outside of any state, for a variety of very specific reasons.  Therefore, if one’s legal residency is within the federal District, he or she cannot vote (legally) for a voting member of the House of Representatives.


    You may disagree with the way the Framers set this up.  If so, you may wish to write to your representative or senator to urge him or her to supprot a constitutional amendment to adopt some different scheme.  There have been many such proposals in the past.  Under the current Constitution, however, the responsibility rests with Congress, and the buck stops with Congress.


    Douglas Johnson, NRLC

  • douglasjohnson

    not bothered that you asked.  Just wondered why you thought it was pertinent to the subject of this thread.

  • jennifer-starr

    Just because you can do something, doesn’t always mean you should.  If Ms Norton went over to Arizona and started trying to write their legislation,  I imagine that the citizens of Arizona wouldn’t be very happy, and rightfully so.  They didn’t elect her. Mr. Franks knows that the majority of DC citizens don’t want his interference in this matter and yet, like a bull in a china shop he charges ahead–apparently he’s even closed his office to them and has made it clear he doesn’t want their input. And they don’t have the recourse of voting him out of office–the right afforded to most American citizens.  Regardless of the District Clause, it makes him look downright dictatorial and it’s bad politics. 

  • colleen

    But the People of DC have there own enormously popular elected Representative, Eleanor Holmes Norton. She was not consulted and  she disagrees with Mr Franks. She wins by much wider margins  than Mr Franks.

    When Republicans  take it upon themselves to lord over the poor and over people of color (which would be the majority of DC’s population) the results are always oppressive and cruel.

  • purplemistydez

    Why are women’s personal choices any of your business? Just wondering since you seem intent on being in women’s personal life, why can’t we be in yours?

  • douglasjohnson

    Since the Constitution provides that the federal District is to be governed by the federal lawmakers, who are collectively responsible to all of the Amrican people (it is their capital, you know), he is not “intefering.”  Regarding how it makes Mr. Franks “look” and whether it is “bad politics,” I do not speak for Mr. Franks, but I am sure that he would be touched to know of your concern for his political welfare.


  • jennifer-starr

    Concern, right—Well I’m a Virginian, but come the next election cycle, I’ll gladly donate money towards anyone who runs against this clown. 

  • jennifer-starr

    I suppose you’d think it overly intrusive if I were to inquire about your viagra use? 

  • douglasjohnson

    Since you capitalize “Representative,” I assume you are referring to the voting members of the House of Representatives, each of whom represents a congressional district.  Eleanor Holmes Norton is not a “Representative” in that sense.  She is the “delegate” from the District of Columbia.  Delegates do not vote in the full House of Representatives, because, as discussed earlier, the Constitution provides that members of the House will represent districts within states.  The District of Columbia is not a congressional district.  It is an exclusively federal jurisdiction.


  • douglasjohnson

    This is a funny place.  People ask questions, then they vote to hide the answers, it seems.


    Anyway, you state your inquiry in the hypothetical (“if I were to inquire”).  My response:  If you can make a persuasive case that the information obtained through inquiries into viagra use or the lack thereof will save the lives of innocent human beings, I’ll give it serious consideration.


  • colleen

    fully aware of the status of DC. It’s citizens pay federal taxes and are denied adequate representation. This is the Republican way. You can try to quibble about this all day but Eleanor Holmes Norton is  the elected representative of Washington DC. The ONLY reason she does not have a vote is because Republicans consistently vote against attempts to change that. And Rep. Norton  was silenced and ignored.

  • colleen

    This is a funny place.

    What’s really funny is that you’re reduced to having your  attempts to derail conversations here  uprated by the mindlessly stupid, poorly raised conservative tools over at Live Action.


  • oak-cliff-townie

    Did you and the Wife use to prevent the conception of innocents .

    You opened the door So I will walk in …..

  • douglasjohnson

    Well, sorry to “quibble,” but I think your history is off there.  At no time in the history of the United States has the District of Columbia had a vote in the full House of Representatives (as opposed to committees).  The Constitution is crystal clear that only representatives elected from the states of union may vote in the full House. 


    I am not sure which “attempts to change that” you are referring to.  In 1978, Congress sent out to the states a proposed constitutional amendment to grant residents of the District of Columbia the right to elect members of Congress “as though it were a state.”  When the ratification deadline for this amendment arrived in 1985, it had been ratified by only 16 states — less than half of the required 38.  Even if this amendment had become part of the Constitution, however, it would not have changed the District Clause, under which Congress shall “exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District . . .” In other words, District residents would have elected one representative to the House and two senators, but Congress would still have held constitutional authority over and responsibility for the federal District.

    Here is the actual text of the failed amendment:

    Section 1. For purposes of representation in the Congress, election of the President and Vice President, and article V of this Constitution, the District constituting the seat of government of the United States shall be treated as though it were a State.

    Section 2. The exercise of the rights and powers conferred under this article shall be by the people of the District constituting the seat of government, and as shall be provided by the Congress.

    Section 3. The twenty-third article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

    Section 4. This article shall be inoperative, unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.

  • douglasjohnson

    colleenDon’t you have something important to do?

    Since you ask, yes, but I am doing that too.  “Multi-tasking.”  Also, I have helpers.  They are not “puppets,” but actual living, sentient human beings. 

    I wonder why you say that I am “derail[ing]” conversations.  This thread started out with Robin Marty making some assertions about the science on fetal pain.  I posted links to some medical authorities who took a contrary view.  I believe that every other comment I have made, on this thread or any other, has been directly relevant to the original post, or directly responsive to a question.  I understand that you do not like the information or the answers.  Apparently, your idea of a “conversation” is an exchange in which everybody agrees how right you are.

  • douglasjohnson

    If any method or circumstance “prevent[s] the conception” of a living member of the species Homo sapiens, then there is no human being in that picture.  Therefore, this question is not relevant to my previous response, which quite specifically was confined to measures to “save the lives of innocent human beings.”  No conception, no human being.  I am afraid that this actually is one of those attempts to “derail” a topic, regarding which colleen recently expressed concern.

  • jennifer-starr

    So you’re fine with non-procreative sex and contraception. 

  • citizenw

    How about if the provisions of this bill are made to apply, not just to the District, but also to the district from which Rep. Franks was ELECTED?


    Or here’s an even more radical thought….  how about if those provisions applied to ALL 435 represented districts as well as the UNREPRESENTED District?   Or do you really think that separate legal provisions on this matter for each of the 435 districts and the District is an appropriate way to legislate for this country?  Separate state laws on a topic for each of the fifty states is complicated enough, so let’s create separate legislation for each of the 436-plus jurisdictions to improve the situation?


    As we all know, the federal government has, from it’s inception to this very day, been a dainty hothouse flower , nearly powerless among the nations of the world, and could never survive, let alone thrive and grow strong, were it not carefully protected from the ravages of a single state, and carefully nourished to  compensate for its fraility.  The approximately 1 in 600 citizens of the nation who live in DC would simply take over and dominate the other 599, and the 50 states, were they not politically castrated and held in conditions of quasi-slavery. 

  • citizenw

    (Deleted by author)

  • citizenw

    The original Constitution counted non-whites as less than whites (” CREATED equal”, does that means we have to COUNT them equally?), did not allow blacks to vote (“men? You mean all WHITE men”), did not allow women to vote (“all MEN!  Where does it say women?”), etc, etc.


    We have refined and corrected that Constituion 17 times (not including the first ten “Amendments”, which were required to even get it signed).  The District Clause closely resembles the Declaratory Act of 1766 by the British Parliament.  Each of these violates the most fundamental first principle of participatory government, that “…Just [ie, legitimate] Power derives from the Consent of the Governed …[ALL the Governed]”

  • colleen

    I am afraid that this actually is one of those attempts to “derail” a topic, regarding which colleen recently expressed concern.

    No it is not.



  • colleen

    Also, I have helpers.  They are not “puppets,” but actual living, sentient human beings. 

    Sock puppets is a term you should probably google. I wasn’t implying that your posse weren’t sentient human beings, I said they are poorly raised. I’ve never been fond of abusive, lying bullies at any stage of life.  I think young folks like James O’Keefe and Lila Rose are the next generation of leaders in the ‘pro-life’ movement. They’re the little grifters who will have your job someday. Poor things, they’ve clearly had crappy role models.


  • colleen

    I note that you still refuse to acknowledge that Eleanor Holmes Norton is the elected representative of Washington DC. Instead you respond with an unnecessary and off topic civics lesson as a distraction. I can understand why you don’t wish to acknowledge that Ms Norton is the elected representative of DC, I can understand why you don’t wish to acknowledge that she has been silenced and ignored.    But please don’t feed us a line of crap about how your ‘pro-life’ Republican from Arizona represents the people of DC.He’s just abusing his power. But then he is a Republican. And abusing others is what they do with power. It’s why their constituents vote for them.

    I am not sure which “attempts to change that” you are referring to.

    That’s quite an entitled bubble you live in. I live on the other side of the country and have long been aware of  ongoing attempts by the people of DC for representation. Perhaps you should read the local newspapers.

  • jodi-jacobson

    You can cite and re-cite and mis-construe and misrepresent data and studies til the cows come home, and that is a speciality of the anti-woman, anti-choice set.

    Medical associations and medical professionals with standing recognize no basis for “fetal pain” before the third trimester because neurological development for pain capacity does not happen til then.



  • jodi-jacobson

    Would love an answer….

    You are deeply concerned with the rights of fertilized eggs and embryos.

    But, as noted by the Leadership Conference

    What’s the only democracy in the entire world where the residents of the capital have No Vote in Congress? Of all the capitals in all the world’s democracies, only Washington, D.C., doesn’t have voting representation or real home rule.

    Are you as concerned with the rights of representation of the citizens of the District of Columbia to vote and have representation like every other citizen across the country? In short, are you in favor of equal voting rights for the tax-paying citizens of the District of Columbia?


  • maiac

    Just because you can do something, doesn’t always mean you should. “