A Republican Senator from Utah, Mike Lee, is attempting to attach a DC abortion ban to a cybersecurity bill. Lee filed the “DC Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” as an amendment to the cybersecurity bill after the House defeated the original DC abortion ban bill on Tuesday night on a vote of 220-154 in favor of it, falling short of the required two-thirds majority.
All of the proposed legislation would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks in the District of Columbia. The bill was originally sponsored in the House by Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona who based the ban on the concept of “fetal pain.” Just before the vote, he stated that late-term abortions are “the greatest human rights atrocity in the United States today.”
On Wednesday, a federal appeals court temporarily prohibited Arizona from enforcing its own 20 week abortion ban, which would have gone into effect today. This decision came just two days after U.S. District Judge James Teilborg dismissed the Center for Reproductive Rights and ACLU’s request for an injunction against the ban, upholding the new law.
The Washington Times reports that Lee’s spokeswoman Emily Bennion said, “The issue of prohibiting abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy is on the minds of the American people in light of [Monday's] ruling in Arizona and yesterday’s vote in the House, which is why Senator Lee decided to attach the amendment to the cybersecurity bill.”
District Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who does not have a vote on the House floor, does not see the bill moving forward as an amendment on the cybersecurity bill in the Senate. “What House Republicans failed to do yesterday,” she said, “the Senate is unlikely to be keen to take up — to undermine the reproductive health of women nationwide, using this bill’s direct attack on Roe v. Wade.”
Congress has jurisdiction over the District, and many District officials spoke out against the bill because it takes away the right of DC to make its own laws. City leaders clashed with President Obama last year when he signed a bill that included a ban on local government funding for abortions in the District.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 8/1/12; The Washington Times 8/1/12; Ms. Blog 8/1/12