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MSNBC "The Rachel Maddow Show" - Transcript


Location: Unknown


Congresswoman, thank you very much for being here. I really
appreciate your time tonight.


MADDOW: You asked to be allowed to hear to testify at this hearing
on a bill that specifically targeting your district and you were refused.
Is there precedent for allowing a member from an opposing market to
speak on legislation that affects his or her district?

NORTON: Abundant precedent.

Rachel, when there is a bill, a bill affecting a country, but you
want to speak on the bill, perhaps you were a cosponsor, maybe one of 10
cosponsors, you get to speak on the bill for any of the really relevant
witnesses do.

Here, you have a bill that affects only my district, no other
districts in the United States, which singles out the residents of the
District of Columbia and say, you women will not be subject to the
constitutional mandate of Roe versus Wade. You alone can have an abortion
only until 20 weeks. By the way, don`t talk to us about how this violates
the 14th Amendment as well, which treats you differently from women in
other states. Not only are we going to try to impose that on you, but we
don`t want to hear from the only voice you have in the House, you have no
voice in the Senate, we shut her up, so we don`t hear from D.C. residents
at all.

Fortunately, we do have a young woman who has gone through this
experience who has a very relevant story to show. But nobody who can speak
for, who has been elected by the representatives of the District of
Columbia, an all-male panel will hear why they should have their Roe versus
Wade with rights differentiated from those of every other woman in the
United States.

MADDOW: Congressman Franks has prioritized the issue of abortion
legislation in his career. In this case, he`s specifically going after
D.C., but he has pushed anti-abortion legislation every time he has the

Why do you think something targeting your district, targeting
Washington, D.C., is important to Republicans this year? Important to
somebody who has this as a national agenda?

NORTON: Rachel, we pointed out to him that his own district allowed
abortions after 20 weeks, so he quickly got somebody to introduce a bill
there. I don`t know if it`s passed yet.

But there`s one and only one reason why he targets the District of
Columbia. It`s such a principled matter, Rachel. Why wouldn`t he want
this principle to apply to every district in the United States?

This is a straight-out cowardly case of bullying. Because the
Congress has somewhat more jurisdiction over the district than others,
because he doesn`t have the nerve to try to paste this on the United States
of America, he`s trying to make it his ideological point by going, like a
big bully, at the only residents who don`t have a voting member -- yes, I
vote in committee, but no voting member in the final vote, and has no
senators to protect the district.

That`s why he`s doing it. A straight-up gang-up on the most
disempowered district in the United States of America.
But let me tell you something about us, we know how to fight back.

MADDOW: Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Democrat of Washington,
D.C. -- I have absolutely no doubt about that last point you just made.
Ma`am, thank you very much for talking to us tonight. Good luck tomorrow
when I know this hearing is going to be convened. Good luck.

NORTON: Thank you, Rachel.


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