Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) Introduces D.C. Abortion Ban…Again

Congressman Trent Franks, the Representative from the 8th Congressional District of Arizona, has proposed a bill that would prohibit women living in D.C. from receiving abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The “District of Columbia Pain Capable Unborn Child Act” uses widely disputed evidence that fetuses can feel and react to pain after 20 weeks. The same measure was proposed by Trent Franks last year but failed in House Roll Call 539 by a vote of 220 to 149. Six pro-choice Republicans spoke out against the bill, angrily confronting Leader Eric Cantor for allowing a floor vote.

The bill now has over 90 Republican cosponsors, but strong opposition is expected from both D.C. residents and choice activists. The last time Franks brought this bill before Congress, he refused to allow D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes a chance to testify against the bill. The Arizona legislator is purposely singling out Washington, D.C. for increased federal regulation with the knowledge that Congress has the authority to override the federal district’s opaque constitutional privileges to ‘home rule.’

In an April 17 statement following news of Franks’ second attempt to ban abortions in the District, Holmes’ office declared that “the pro-choice movement … is unified, and we will combat the insatiable Republican obsession with interfering with the rights of women in our city”.

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