Rep. Trent Franks just can’t keep his hands to himself.
Franks (R-Ariz.), author of the infamously ridiculous/sad May 2011 op-ed, “Women in Combat: The Culture War on the Backs of Our Troops” (excerpt: “It may surprise some of these feminists to learn, for example, that women can get pregnant while men, it turns out, cannot.”), has a long history of trying to tell women what they can and cannot do.
His latest target is D.C., a proven easy mark for intrusive legislation by so-called small-government conservatives.
One day after Roe v. Wade’s 39th Anniversary, Franks introduced “The District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the District. The congressman — of Glendale, Ariz. a.k.a. not-D.C. — would like to make it harder for D.C. women to access the same reproductive options residents of his home state can choose.
Even if we ignore the pretend science behind Franks’ bill, his justification is some of the most insulting and insensible big government rhetoric directed at the District in recent memory.
“Because of the extreme liberal local government in D.C., there is some indication…that D.C. either is becoming, or has the potential to become, a safe haven for abortionists to do these late-term abortions, who for other reasons have had their licenses revoked in the States and [have] come to the District as a safe haven,” he said. …
“There are some people who, if they could make a federalism argument, would, but certainly they can’t in this case,” he said.
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s non-voting delegate, suggested Franks introduce legislation that applies to the whole country, not just the District of Columbia, if he thinks it’s such “sound policy.” No word yet if anyone on the federal level has drafted a similar bill that would apply strictly to Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District or the happenings in Trent Franks’ uterus.
Because of the absurd policy rider in the spending bill passed last year, D.C. already is barred from using locally raised tax revenues to fund abortion services. Although the D.C. abortion ban was presented as a last-minute “compromise” to save the government from shutdown, it involved trading away the rights of 60,000 D.C. women of reproductive age who are enrolled in Medicaid. Of course, these women still don’t even have a voting member in Congress. Some compromise.
Under Franks’ bill, if a D.C. resident struggled to raise funding for her abortion prior to 20 weeks, she might be forced to carry out a dangerous pregnancy or obtain an illegal abortion. Of course, Franks and company know this; abortions don’t go away just because they’re more difficult to obtain. Nevertheless, anti-reproductive health lobby the National Right to Life Committee has decided to make Franks’ intrusive legislation one of its top priorities for 2012.
Despite Franks’ 49 House cosponsors, we can rest somewhat assured that our pro-science president would veto this mess on the spot. Or something.