February 15, 2012 — Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) on Monday introduced legislation that would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks of gestation in Washington, D.C., the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
The bill is similar to a measure (HR 3803) introduced in the House (Canham, Salt Lake Tribune, 2/14). The House version, introduced by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) in January, is based on model legislation from the National Right to Life Committee, which claims that fetuses can feel pain around 20 weeks. State legislatures in Alabama, Idaho, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Kansas have approved similar legislation (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/24).
House Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) criticized Lee's bill and said he is pursuing it as a test case for a nationwide campaign to increase abortion restrictions. She added, "Sen. Lee is trying to undemocratically usurp local authority outside his own state in violation of every founding principle of local control." Norton said she would encourage abortion-rights groups to fight the House and Senate bills (Salt Lake Tribune, 2/14).