Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, indicated to the press yesterday that he will re-introduce his bill that would ban all abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks, with limited exceptions. Last Congress, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), her pro-choice congressional allies, and a coalition of 100 national and local organizations defeated the bill in a vote on the House floor. The bill, which would prohibit such abortions in only one local jurisdiction, the District of Columbia, broadens Congressional attacks on women who live in the District and on home rule.
"When the far right comes forward with extreme proposals to infringe on the rights of women, like Congressman Franks' proposal to single D.C. out with a 20-week abortion ban, they end up fighting amongst themselves, fragmented and in disarray throughout the country," said Norton. "The pro-choice movement, in contrast, is unified, and with them, we will combat the insatiable Republican obsession with interfering with the rights of women in our city, as we have successfully done before. The process of defeating the bill last year significantly mobilized and strengthened the pro-choice movement and was felt in November."
Last Congress, Franks denied Norton the right to testify at his committee's hearing on his D.C. abortion ban bill, H.R. 3803, and on H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which, among other things, would have permanently banned the District from spending its local funds on abortion services for low-income women.
Last month, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the groups that led the coalition to defeat Rep. Franks' D.C. abortion ban bill last Congress, informed Senators that they intended to "score" a vote on the amendment Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) filed to the Senate's budget resolution expressing the Sense of the Senate that Congress should pass legislation banning abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The organizations decided to score the vote without prompting by Norton, an indication that pro-choice groups do not intend to leave D.C. to special interests that use the city's women as part of their national agenda. The Lee amendment was not brought up for a vote.