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AZ Congressman Introduces Bill to Restrict Abortion in DC

Arizona Representative Trent Franks (R) introduced the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act this week that would prohibit women in the District of Columbia from having an abortion after 20 weeks gestation unless her life is in danger. The bill is based on the unfounded notion that the fetus can feel pain at this point in the pregnancy. The American College of Gynecology refutes assertions that fetuses can feel pain at 20 week, stating that there is “no legitimate evidence that fetuses can experience pain.”

Washington DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton criticized the bill stating, “We do not intend to succumb to the insatiable Republican obsession with interfering with the rights of women in our city. Instead of spending the recess focused on jumpstarting the economy or attending to the business of his own constituents, Representative Franks appears to have used his time at home figuring out new ways to undemocratically usurp the local authority of American citizes who did not elect him and who have no way to hold him accountable.”

Franks responded by saying, “Congress has the seminal and incontrovertible responsibility for making legislative policy in the District of Columbia.” Currently, six states – Idaho, Nebraska, Kansas, Alabama, Indiana, and Oklahoma – have “fetal pain” laws. These laws directly challenge the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which allows women to obtain abortion services until fetal viability at 22-24 weeks

Huffington Post 1/25/12; National Partnership 1/24/12