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Public Statements

Norton Statement on Markup of D.C. Post-20-Week Abortion Reveals American Women as Actual Target

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today released a statement Norton has asked to be included in the record of the House Judiciary Committee markup of H.R. 3803, a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the District of Columbia, scheduled for Tuesday, July 10, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building.

Norton, who was denied the congressional courtesy of testifying on the bill at the Subcommittee on the Constitution's hearing in May, even though the bill would affect only her constituents, says in her statement that District of Columbia women are being used as cover in a bill that targets women throughout the country in an ongoing national campaign to pass state laws that defy the abortion rights guaranteed in Roe v. Wade. "Instead of introducing a nationwide post-20-week abortion ban, the campaign has taken the bill to conservative states and to Congress, but only for District women," Norton's statement says. "They do not dare introduce a nationwide bill because the denial of post-20-week abortions is opposed by most Americans, who have long supported the Roe v. Wade guarantee of the constitutional right to abortion until viability as determined by a physician."

The text of Norton's full statement follows.

Statement of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

House Committee on the Judiciary Markup

H.R. 3803, District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

July 10, 2012

I submit this statement opposing H.R. 3803 on behalf of the residents of the District of Columbia, who have no vote in this committee or on the House floor. I ask that it be included in the record of today's markup, particularly considering the denial of my request, as a congressional courtesy, to testify at the hearing about H.R. 3803, which would apply only to my constituents, including women who live in the District, as well as physicians and other healthcare professionals and hospitals in the District, but to no other Americans or jurisdictions.

Some are debating whether House Republicans have been engaging in a "war on women" in our country. What is not debatable is the fixation of the Republican majority on depriving the women of the District of the reproductive rights that all other Americans enjoy. This bill, however, is another abuse of power and denial of democratic rights. The committee, acting at the insistence of special interest organizations, is using District women to abet a national campaign to defy Roe v. Wade, the law of the land. Instead of introducing a nationwide post-20-week abortion ban, the campaign has taken the bill to conservative states and to Congress, but only for District women. They do not dare introduce a nationwide bill because the denial of post-20-week abortions is opposed by most Americans, who have long supported the Roe v. Wade guarantee of the constitutional right to abortion until viability as determined by a physician.

District women are the chosen vehicle, but the targets of the national campaign are women of the nation. If this bill is passed in the House, it will be used to show a federal imprimatur, however bogus or limited, for the purpose of encouraging other jurisdictions to defy Roe v. Wade. Thus, H.R. 3803 goes beyond the tactics these same forces used to bring the federal government (and with it, the District government) to within an hour of shutting down in April 2011, which was avoided only after they succeeded in re-imposing an undemocratic rider on a spending bill to prohibit the District from spending its own local funds on abortions for low-income women. That D.C. abortion rider remains in place today, and the House, but not the Senate, has passed a bill (H.R. 3) that would make the rider permanent. But today's bill moves from interfering with the decisions of low-income women in the District, to attacking every woman in the District in a national campaign to nullify the abortion rights of women throughout the United States, state by state.


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