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Public Statements

MSNBC "The Rachel Maddow Show" - Transcript

Interview

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Yesterday, though she cannot vote, Eleanor Holmes Norton ask her statement be included in the record. Congresswoman Norton said, quote, "Republicans do dare not take on the women of this country who have voting members of the House and Senate with a post-20-week ban on abortions. Instead, the majority has chosen a cheap and cynical way to make an ideological point during an election year."

Joining us now is Eleanor Holmes Norton, the congresswoman from the District of Columbia. Congresswoman Norton, nobody gets to vote on this show, it`s a dictatorship. But if there were, you`d have full voting rights here.

It`s great to have you here.

DEL. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D), WASHINGTON, D.C.: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: You make the argument Republicans would dare not try an abortion ban like this nationwide where people had voting representatives. Why do you think that is and why do you think they`ve singled out D.C.?

NORTON: Very important, Rachel. If you think they are coming after District of Columbia, sure, because that`s the easiest thing to do, but their interest is really not in the District of Columbia.

This 20-week abortion ban, in defiance of Roe v. Wade, they`ve marched through nine conservative states. And then it occurred to the anti-choice folk forces, we need a federal and primary tool, what`s the easiest way to get it? They didn`t dare get in the face of American women. They`ve already been there for contraceptives, health care plans, defunding Planned Parenthood, the Komen for the Cure, they got their -- their you know what handed to them.

So you come in the face of the American women today with -- and by the way, the final destination is your abortion rights, and you really get their attention. Tell you what, Rachel, we got their attention, because pro-choice forces have been all over the country saying this ain`t about the District of Columbia. They are using the District of Columbia to get you there on a national campaign against Roe v. Wade. And, by the way, they have already been caught up.

This is a bill brought by an Arizona member of the House named Trent Franks. I called him out because his own state didn`t have a 20-week abortion ban, so he quick got some people to introduce one there. That now is going to court.

Look, this is against -- this is unconstitutional, when it comes to the District of Columbia, it deprives us of our 14th Amendment rights, why here and not women else -- well, that`s not the point. They are using women in my district as puppets, as pawns, to get at Roe v. Wade and American women nationwide.

Watch out, they are coming after you.

MADDOW: So you think that they are specifically pursuing this in D.C., not just part of a broader anti-abortion interest pushing their advantage where they can, where they`ve got control, you think this is specifically to set up a federal case to challenge Roe v. Wade by taking this 20-week ban issue that they`ve pushed in other states?

NORTON: No, no, they can do that, and they`ve already done that in the states. This is to get up ahead of seam throughout the country where you get as many states as possible to defy Roe v. Wade. You can do it easily in nine conservative states where it`s hard to get an abortion in the first place.

But if you really want to bring this attention, some national attention on this, what you want to do as part of this national campaign is somehow get the federal government involved. Rachel, if this was a principle matter, if you thought there was pain at 20 weeks, bogus science, to be sure, but if that`s what you thought, you wouldn`t be interested in fetuses in the District of Columbia, you`d have to deal with fetuses all across the United States of America.

That`s not the point here. They`ve not been able to get a choice the way they`ve wanted to get it. Now on a national campaign, it`s an election year, this is the last thing, by the way, that I think our Republican colleagues wanted to do, but they sat there with their heads down and voted party line vote without, I must say, saying a lot about the bill. They left that to Trent Franks, the sponsor, because they are supposed to be about jobs.

Since they haven`t been about jobs, other Republicans are coming in to fill the space. Not the way to fill it.

MADDOW: Eleanor Holmes Norton, congresswoman from the great District of Columbia, thank you for your time tonight, ma`am. It`s a pleasure to have you here.

NORTON: Always a pleasure.

MADDOW: Thank you.

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