Washington, D.C., Officials Criticize Efforts To Ban Abortion After 20 Weeks in District

February 22, 2012 — Washington, D.C., officials and abortion-rights groups held a press conference on Tuesday to express opposition to federal legislation that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of gestation in the district, Roll Call reports.

Both the House version (HR 3803) -- introduced by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) -- and the Senate version (S 2013) -- introduced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) -- would allow exceptions if a woman's life is at risk but not if the fetus has serious medical problems or to protect a woman's health (Dumain, Roll Call, 2/21). The bill's supporters claim that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/15).

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said the legislation "reaches well beyond the invasion of a jurisdiction to violate the individual rights of our citizens [based] solely on their residency in the District of Columbia."

Neither chamber has scheduled a hearing on the proposals. Roll Call notes that the legislation likely would not pass the Democratic-controlled Senate (Roll Call, 2/21).