House Republicans are desperate to impose their anti-abortion views on women across this country. From the first day they took over the House, Republicans have been focusing almost entirely on scaling back women’s rights. They’ve passed several anti-abortion bills, anti-contraception bills, and anti-women’s health bills. And that focus still continues today.
On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee advanced a bill to the full House that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in Washington DC. The vote was along party lines with Republicans voting for it, while Democrats voted against it. The bill has severe consequences for women’s health in the DC area, such as the fact that there are no exceptions for rape or incest, and no exceptions for when the life of the mother is in jeopardy. In other words, Republicans want to force raped women in DC to give birth to their rapist’s baby, and would rather women die giving birth instead of allowing abortion to be a viable medical option.
There’s more bad news. Republicans are doing this while at the same time denying DC’s own representative in Congress from being part of the debate.
Eleanor Holmes Norton is the Democratic delegate who works and speaks on behalf of DC residents, yet she was not allowed to speak about a bill that affects her constituents. I dare say that if Democrats banned a Republican from Florida from speaking about an issue that affects Florida residents, the GOP would whine about it and call it a crime against democracy.
In a statement regarding the bill, Holmes said:
“Republicans do not dare take on the women of this country who have voting Members of the House and Senate with a post-20-week ban on abortions. IInstead, the majority has chosen a cheap and cynical way to make an ideological point during an election year. D.C. residents and officials…will never accept second-class treatment of our city and, most especially, of our women.”
The bill, known as H.R. 3803, is based on the Republican claim that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks. This claim, of course, has absolutely no science to back it up. Multiple studies suggest that fetuses feel pain after week 25 of a pregnancy. One study suggests 28 weeks. Even The American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians says that there isn’t any real evidence that supports the Republican claim.
Clearly, Republicans are using false claims to spearhead legislation to kill the reproductive rights of women. In DC, this is even worse because they don’t have any say in whether the bill is passed or not. The legislation wasn’t even introduced by a lawmaker in Virginia or Maryland, the two states bordering DC. It wasn’t even introduced by a lawmaker on the East coast. This bill was introduced by GOP Rep. Trent Franks, of ARIZONA. So women in DC are being subjected to the will of a representative who works for the people of Arizona. That should be detestable to everyone who cares about democracy.
The fact is, Republicans don’t care about dealing with the economy. They would rather introduce and pass a bevy of bad bills designed to control what women do with their own bodies and what reproductive choices they make. It’s terrible policy that proves how incapable Republicans are of governing. This assault on women is all about these conservative men wanting power over women. It’s that simple, and women should not allow it.