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D.C. Abortion Bill Defeated In U.S. House

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The House bill that would have banned certain abortions in D.C. failed, as expected.
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The House bill that would have banned certain abortions in D.C. failed, as expected.

An effort to ban abortions after twenty weeks in D.C. was defeated in the U.S. House Tuesday, but the battle isn't over yet.

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton says the legislation would have represented a massive intrusion into the lives of her female constituents. She says the bill is being pushed to make a national statement.

"This bill is a key element in a state-by-state campaign that seeks first to undermine and then to eliminate reproductive choice and health for women across the United States," she says.

A companion bill is still lingering in the Senate, and while Democrats control that chamber, Republican senators have held up legislation all year in order to force votes on their own priorities. And interest groups on both sides of the debate are using the effort for fundraising and to try to keep their members in check, as Holmes Norton points out.

"Sometimes bullies pick the wrong fight. Anti-choice forces have threatened our leadership here, particularly Republicans, saying they're going to score the vote," says Holmes Nortion. "All that did was to bring out the really big boys: Planned Parenthood and pro-choice NARAL, who are going to score it as well."

Thirty senators have signed their names to the Senate legislation.

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