By Emma Dumain, Roll Call
Congressional legislation that would place restrictions on District of Columbia laws typically captures attention and backlash from an insular crowd of local activists.
But a bill that would ban abortions in Washington, D.C., after 20 weeks of pregnancy has gained broader traction, with Democrats citing it as the latest installment in what they are calling the â€œRepublican war on women.â€
Leading up to a Thursday afternoon hearing convened by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, pro-abortion rights groups including NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the National Abortion Federation sent press releases to nation-wide email lists, imploring supporters to fight against the bill.
They also expressed solidarity with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who was denied the opportunity to testify before the subcommittee despite its effect on her district.
â€œD.C. women are already denied a vote, and now we are being denied a voice,â€ said Laura Meyers, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.
Lawmakers in both chambers, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), also decried the decision to exclude Norton from testifying.
â€œIt is mystifying to me how anyone who claims to be part of a representative body could say no to hearing testimony from the very representative elected by the people who are being targeted by this bill,â€ Boxer said in a statement. â€œCongresswoman Norton is an accomplished lawmaker, she has represented the people of Washington in Congress for 21 years and she has the right to have her voice heard on legislation with damaging health impacts for women in the District of Columbia.â€
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