A spending bill released on Tuesday by US House of Representatives Republicans maintains provisions that restrict abortion in the District of Columbia and a planned bill seeks to further restrict abortion in DC. Under the introduced spending bill, DC would be prohibited from using its taxpayers’ money to subsidize the cost of abortions for low-income women, a provision that has been included in every version of the spending bill since Republicans took control of the House in 1994. Representative Justin Amash (R-Mich.) also announced on his Facebook page last week that he plans on introducing a bill that he calls the “District of Columbia Respect for Life and Conscience Act of 2012” which would add more restrictions to abortion in DC.
The Hill reports that the Facebook post says the bill will require parental consent for minors, prohibit anyone besides licensed doctors from performing abortions, and allow health care facilities and individuals to refuse to perform an abortion if the facility or individual has a moral objection. The bill was denounced by Eleanor Holmes Norton, who is DC’s only elected official, though she is not allowed to vote on the House floor because Washington, DC, is not a state. In a statement, she said, “Rep. Amash is spending time in the House meddling in my district, instead of attending to the needs of his own constituents. His bill would overturn our local laws with no accountability to our residents.”
In May, Holmes Norton was denied a chance to testify in a House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution hearing on a bill that banned abortion in DC after 20 weeks. The denial of her testimony by subcommittee chair and sponsor of the bill, Trent Franks (R-AZ), broke Congressional tradition that allows members of Congress to testify on bills that affect their constituents.
The Hill 6/6/12; Washington Post 6/5/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 5/18/12