House Committee Passes Bill Banning Abortions in D.C.

The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill banning abortions in the District 20 weeks into pregnancy Wednesday, according to the Washington Times.

Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican, proposed bill H.R.3803, titled the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, in January based on the opinion that a fetus can feel pain.

The bill has received more than 200 co-sponsors in the Republican-controlled House so far. The bill passed by an 18-14 vote and will be forwarded to the full House for consideration.

An anti-abortion group, the National Right to Life Committee, made the bill its top priority on Capitol Hill this year. The non-profit organization has a running list of the bill’s co-sponsors on its website. In a press release about the bill, NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson said,

“A vote against this bill amounts to a vote to ratify the extreme policy currently in effect in the nation’s capital, where abortion is completely legal for any reason until the moment of birth. Under the Constitution, members of Congress, and the President, are ultimately accountable for this extreme policy.”

Franks tweeted,

H.R. 3803 has been vehemently objected against by Democrats and city leaders who claimed that the bill unfairly targeted residents in the capital and undermines a woman’s right to an abortion.

House Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s non-voting member of Congress, posted on her Facebook page,

Rep. Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat, read a statement on Holmes Norton’s behalf into the record,

“My constituents would also count on me to note for the record the subcommittee’s callous disregard of longstanding congressional courtesy in denying my request to testify, particularly considering that the subject matter under consideration affects only my district.”

Rep. Johnson also said that he not only objects to the substance of the bill, but that it is more “egregious” that it is targeting D.C. residents.

The House recently rejected another Republican-sponsored bill that would have banned sex-selective abortion, and with Democrats controlling the White House and Senate, it is unlikely that H.R. 3803 will be passed into law.