Republican Dudes Won't Let DC's Female Delegate Speak Against Abortion Ban in the District

Illustration for article titled Republican Dudes Won't Let DC's Female Delegate Speak Against Abortion Ban in the District

Republicans in Congress are currently considering enacting a law that would ban abortions after 20 weeks in the District of Columbia with no exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal abnormality, under the scientifically non-facty assumption that at that point in gestation, fetuses can feel pain. To add insult to injury, DC's delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton requested the right to speak out against the ban, but was denied. So, just in case you just had a rage stroke and spaced out: conservatives are denying a woman the opportunity to speak out in favor of a law that would negatively impact her own constituents, many of whom are women. Democracy.


The proposed abortion ban in Washington, DC was proposed, bizarrely, by Arizona Representative Trent Franks, who you may remember as the guy who introduced a bill originally called The Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (but was later shortened to the less comically offensive "Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act"). PRENDA, as it's become known, would bar the termination of a pregnancy based on the race or sex of the fetus and give a woman's husband (or a minor woman's parents) the right to interfere in her choice to abort.

Yesterday, Franks' 20-week ban sailed through a House subcommittee, which Franks chairs, without a peep from DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who was barred from speaking, even though the ban applies to her constituents. Seems kind of inside baseball, no?

The pro-abortion rights Holmes Norton is DC's Congressional Delegate, but she's only allowed to speak if given permission, since DC isn't a state and she's not technically a Congresswoman. Holmes Norton famously walked out of the infamous No Lady Birth Control Hearings earlier this year.

And I can't say that Franks' decision to bar her from speaking surprised me, but it's still damn disappointing when men in positions of power feel that it's within their purview to legislate what women do with their bodies. I mean, a uterus in DC shouldn't fall under the jurisdiction of a man from Arizona, right?



Kat Callahan

DC hasn't been a commuter city... ever. Black slaves and servants were part of the city from the get go, left behind by politicians and bureaucrats to tend to estates while their owners/employers lived elsewhere. The attempt to make DC a business only city failed as of 1815. Enough of this shit. At the very least let DC have one single solitary vote in the lower chamber so their representative can stand up and call other reps like Franks out on the bullshit.

Hell, even the Aussies have representatives and Senators from Canberra (their DC, called ACT, Australian Capital Territory).