A regressive Republican congressman from Arizona, Representative Trent Franks, has sponsored legislation that would ban abortions later than 20 weeks for residents of Washington, D.C. Regressive Republican Senator Mike Lee sponsored a companion bill in his chamber.
The bill, by the way, is based on something called fetal pain, a non-medical term with no basis in science that is purely a creation of anti-abortion legislative strategists.
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, the delegate from the District of Columbia, asked her colleague to allow her to testify on the bill. After all, she represents the constituents who will be affected by the legislation should it pass.
The collegial Representative Franks said no.
Didn’t anyone remind Franks about The Man Panel?
The arrogance of regressive Republicans in Congress is truly astounding.
In case you need a brush-up on your D.C. politics, Norton is not a representative will full voting rights. She can weigh in on procedural matters, but when it comes to voting on bills on the house floor, she cannot.
[If your third grader points out that allowing D.C. no vote in Congress seems like taxation without representation, which was the very sentiment that triggered the original protest of the Stamp Act in Boston Harbor, your third grader would be correct. Fascinating, isn’t it, how the modern-day Tea Party hasn’t really picked up the District’s cause?]
This refusal to allow the congresswoman to speak is shameful, as is the Republicans’ continued assault on women’s bodily autonomy and right to make private medical decisions free from government intrusion.
Still, the regressive right continues the drumbeat of insisting that the war on women, which is entirely real and deeply offensive, is a mere construct of people trying to distract Americans from “real” issues.
Representative Kristi Noem (R-South Dakota) has become the latest regressive member of the GOP to claim that “real” women don’t care about silly little issues like bodily autonomy and reproductive rights, and to criticize Democrats for trying to score political points by yammering about some war on women that the Republican party isn’t really waging:
I know a number of smart, generous and kind women. Whether they stay at home to raise their children, run a corporation, work in their communities or hold elected office, each and every one of them care more about the real challenges our country is facing, such as our $15.6 trillion debt and unsustainable health and retirement programs, than some fictitious war.
Note to Rep. Noem and her ilk: smart, generous, and kind women are perfectly capable of caring about health care and economic policy while at the same time caring very deeply about assaults on our reproductive rights. Abortion rights, including the right to terminate a pregnancy using the procedure determined most appropriate by a medical professional without government dictates, are as real of an issue to women as the national debt.
Trust me—women on either side of the issue consider it to be very real, and to insist it is somehow a second-tier concern, merely a political point-scoring device of interest only to pundits, is deeply insulting to all women.
Regressives can claim that the ‘war on women’ isn’t real, but the truth is, when a representative in the U.S. Congress isn’t allowed to testify on an abortion bill that directly and specifically affects her constituents, that’s a war on women.
The Jedi mind trick won’t work here. There is something to see here, and it is a wholesale assault on women’s rights.
This bill is based on model legislation drafted by a nationwide regressive, anti-choice activist group. It is part of a deliberate, coordinated strategy designed to undermine Roe v. Wade by created state-based laws that would make it easier to ban abortion altogether were Roe to be overturned or substantially eviscerated.
The hearing on the proposed legislation is today, this afternoon. Eleanor Holmes Norton will take part in a press conference before the hearing, because she is not allowed to testify on behalf of her constituents, for whom she generally can advocate but not vote. The war on women, and on common sense, continues apace, brought to you by the Republican party.