Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today wrote to Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, requesting to testify at the subcommittee's hearing next week on a bill (H.R. 3803) that would ban all abortions performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the District of Columbia with limited exceptions. In her letter, Norton said, "As the only Member of the House who is elected by and accountable to the residents of the District of Columbia, I hope you will allow me to represent the views of my constituents."
Norton was denied the opportunity to testify before the subcommittee last year on a bill (H.R. 3) that would have permanently prohibited the District of Columbia from spending its own local funds on abortion services for low-income residents. The bill has passed in the House, but the Senate has not considered it. A bill similar to H.R. 3 brought protests and acts of civil disobedience by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, D.C. Council members, and other residents.
Norton said H.R. 3803, Sponsored by Chairman Franks, singles out the District for discriminatory treatment by prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in only one local jurisdiction, the District of Columbia, and goes beyond attacking the city's home-rule rights by violating the individual constitutional rights of city residents.
The National Right to Life Committee has made passing the bill its number one legislative priority this Congress, but Norton notes that she will put the same energy into defeating the bill.