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Norton Opposing Bill Banning Some Abortions In D.C.

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D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, shown here at a D.C. budget protest in December, is speaking out against a bill introduced Feb. 20 that would restrict certain abortions in the District of Columbia.
Markette Smith
D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, shown here at a D.C. budget protest in December, is speaking out against a bill introduced Feb. 20 that would restrict certain abortions in the District of Columbia.

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) is protesting a bill making its way through the Republican-controlled House that would ban most abortions in the District. The bill, the "District of Columbia Pain-Capable  Unborn Child Protection Act" (H.R. 3803) is sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), would ban abortions in the District after a woman's 20th week of pregnancy.

Franks cites research showing that fetuses past the 20-week growth stage can feel pain. Norton says the bill is unconstitutional because it denies women their reproductive rights as declared by Roe v. Wade

"What this is, is a political attack, using the District of Columbia as a wedge issue, in an election year," Norton says.

Women's rights are also an issue in Virginia, where a wave of anti-abortion legislation is making its way through the General Assembly, including the so-called "personhood bill." The Virginia House yesterday gave preliminary approval to the measure.

"This is another in those attacks," Norton says. "Last week, it was contraceptives, it looks like this week it's going to be abortion." Conservative lawmakers say they are protecting the rights of unborn children.

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