A new bill aimed at banning abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks has been introduced to the House. This is the second consecutive year Rep. Trent Franks has introduced such legislation in the House.
Franks attributes the need for such a measure to the ongoing trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia doctor accused of performing botched late-term abortions, including killing live babies after they were born, The Washington Post reported
His bill would prohibit late-term abortions on the basis that fetuses older than 20 weeks can feel pain, though it would allow the practice in cases required to save the life of the mother.
Franks introduced similar legislation in 2012. At the time, abortion rights activists protested, and an organization dedicated to voting rights for the District staged a walk-in at his Capitol Hill office, arguing reproductive health policy should be determined by city residents alone.
D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, slammed the new bill, “Trent Franks and the anti-choice groups are about to find out that our resistance to the anti-democratic use of federal power against our local jurisdiction and the reproductive freedom of our women equals their persistence in trying to violate our rights,” she said.
But Franks hit back. “I am astonished that opponents of my bill argue that it usurps local authority,” he said. “To the contrary, it is precisely because the Constitution grants ‘exclusive’ authority to Congress to create ‘legislation in all Cases whatsoever’ for D.C. that I felt compelled to introduce this bill.”
It is unclear whether the bill will get a hearing or floor vote, but it currently has 93 co-sponsors.
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