Abortion regulation without representation

Updated
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., left, confers with Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., right, following a weekly House GOP strategy session, at the Capitol in Washington.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., left, confers with Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., right, following a weekly House GOP strategy session, at the Capitol in Washington.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Mayor Vincent Gray is not very popular in Washington, D.C. The Washington Post released a new poll yesterday indicating, in fact, that most D.C. residents want him to resign, his term in office having been stained by a campaign corruption scandal. If the people get what they want, perhaps Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona will want the job. Officially, that is – considering he’s already making policy for the city.

A bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy for women in the District of Columbia – where the sole delegate is not granted voting rights in Congress – is set to go to the full House floor for a vote. Guess who’s leading the effort? Yes, the Republican Congressman Franks.

Franks ushered the restrictive bill on abortion rights through the House Judiciary Committee along party lines on Wednesday, effectively clamping down on reproductive rights in the only region in the continental United States which is denied of full Congressional representation.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district’s single delegate, chalked the bill up as a legislative threat to both physicians and reproductive rights, not to mention the voters whose rights are not represented.

“Anti-choice, far-right forces hope to use D.C. women as puppets in their effort to undermine Roe v. Wade by abusing federal authority over this city to get a phony federal imprimatur for their ongoing campaign to get similar bills passed in states across the nation,” Norton said in a statement.

And not only is Norton not allowed to vote on a bill that directly affects her constituents, and her constituents alone, but she was also denied the opportunity to speak before her colleagues with full voting powers during hearings over the bill this spring.

“And so an Arizona Congressman is reproducing this colonial model about ‘I will tell you, people of D.C., how to govern this issue,’” Melissa said on her show in May, after Norton was barred from testifying. And as Melissa noted during the segment, late-term abortions account for very few instances of the procedure - roughly 9 in 10 abortions occur in the first 12 months of pregnancy according to the Guttmacher Institute.

But according to the author of the bill – one that had ratcheted up to as many as 193 co-sponsors – argue that the “inhumane” nature of late-term abortions are “the greatest human rights atrocity in the United States today.”

“This is a bill to protect children from being tortuously dismembered while they are fully capable of feeling pain,” Franks said on Wednesday.

Find our May coverage, as referenced above, after the jump. Join us again on Saturday when we’ll be covering this issue once again.

Reproductive Rights

Abortion regulation without representation

Updated