Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said she and women across the country are already in a fighting mood about Republican attempts to undercut their reproductive rights, and she said she is not surprised that the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a markup of H.R. 3803, which bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the District of Columbia, on Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), is "a nakedly undemocratic attempt to use Congress and the women of this city to undermine Roe v. Wade by denying women here their 14th amendment right to reproductive choice and equal treatment under the law," Norton said. "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."
Norton requested to testify on behalf of her district at the Subcommittee on the Constitution hearing on the bill in May, citing the long-standing, bipartisan tradition of allowing members of Congress to testify on bills affecting their districts, in addition to invited witnesses, but the subcommittee's chairman, Rep. Franks, denied her request.