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U.S. Senator Introduces Bill That Would Restrict Abortions In D.C.

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Norton, shown here at a D.C. budget protest in December 2011, is speaking out against a bill that would restrict certain abortions in the District.
WAMU/Markette Smith
Norton, shown here at a D.C. budget protest in December 2011, is speaking out against a bill that would restrict certain abortions in the District.

A Republican U.S. senator has introduced legislation to restrict abortions in the District. The legislation being pushed by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) would ban abortions in D.C. after 20 weeks.

While local officials despise this latest effort to overturn D.C. abortion laws, the bill still isn't a major shock to them anymore. "If this isn't déjà vu all over again I don t know what is," said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).

A similar bill introduced by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) was defeated in the House in the last Congress. Lee also introduced his bill then, but it didn t receive a vote. Norton says Lee's effort is a political ploy to help anti-abortion groups fundraise and whip up national support, and doesn't even take into account women's health.

"Rape, incest  not in there. So we re being used. And we react strongly to being used," she says.

Norton also accuses Lee,  a Tea Party conservative, of being hypocritical for trying to supersede the wish of local voters.

"The last thing you would think anybody with a Tea Party background would want would be the federal government, big foot-stomping on any local jurisdiction, even the capital city of the United States," she says.

Lee disputes the charge, arguing the Constitution gives Congress control over the federal city.

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