By Debbie Siegelbaum - 07/30/12 10:31 PM EDT
Describing the effort as “humanitarian and compassionate,” Franks told The Hill in January that the legislation was necessary because late-term abortionists unable to practice elsewhere were coming to the District.
“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.
The bill has garnered 222 cosponsors thus far and was approved by the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month.
Groups that oppose abortion rights have also named it one of their top legislative priorities and pressured House leadership to schedule a floor vote prior to the month-long August recess, according to Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), a long-time opponent of the bill.
“NARAL and Planned Parenthood have millions of members and supporters throughout the country,” she wrote in a statement Monday. “By announcing they are scoring the vote, there will be no free pass for members of Congress who vote for the bill.
“Members of Congress can no longer explain to their constituents that they were voting on only a ‘D.C. bill,’ ” Norton added. “These pro-choice groups have put members of Congress on notice that the nation’s women will also be ‘scoring’ the vote.”
Norton also noted that a coalition of 100 local and national groups committed to fighting attacks on D.C.’s home rule — including the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP — have joined forces with the pro-abortion rights groups to fight the legislation.
House leadership have chosen to bring the proposed legislation to the floor Tuesday under suspension of rules, which limits debate to 20 minutes per side, prevents amendments and requires a two-thirds majority for passage.
A spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) — who oversees the floor schedule — confirmed the planned suspension of rules but declined to comment on why that decision was made.
Norton vowed to fight on should the legislation pass the House on Tuesday.
“House Republicans and anti-choice forces could not care less about the Constitution or the District of Columbia,” Norton noted Friday. “Republicans have abandoned their own principles by attempting to impose this bill on the District, whose abortion laws are like those of a number of states… We will defeat this full-throttle attack on our women and on our city in the courts, if necessary.”