Angered by abortion bill, D.C. activists protest in Ariz.

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder

A band of D.C. activists angered by an Arizona congressman’s effort to restrict abortions in the District protested at his office near Phoenix on Thursday.

A proposal from Rep. Trent Franks, a Republican, would ban most abortions in D.C. after a woman reached the 20th week of her pregnancy. Franks and his congressional cosponsors claim the legislation would prevent an unborn child from feeling the physical pain of an abortion procedure.

But D.C. leaders have cried foul.

“This is a bill that seeks to intentionally discriminate against women because they live in the nation’s capital,” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said last month. “This bill speeds past any regard for Federalist principles and local accountability.”

Franks dismissed that criticism in a February interview with The Washington Examiner and said city leaders were using congressional interference in local affairs as an excuse to oppose his legislation.

“Home rule doesn’t transcend the U.S. Constitution,” said Franks, who added that the Constitution grants Congress “absolute responsibility” over D.C. “They’d like to make that the issue rather than the pain of unborn children.”

On Thursday, though, D.C. activists made it clear they weren’t buying Franks’ defense.

Protesters, organized by D.C. Vote, a statehood advocacy group, passed out fliers urging, “Congressman Franks, Don’t be a Wiener!”

The advertisements also implored Franks to “stay out of D.C.’s laws and focus on Arizona.”

Asked for reaction to the protests, Franks spokeswoman Kate Middleton sent the same statement Franks released last month after city officials held a news conference to bash the proposal.

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Alan Blinder

Staff Reporter, D.C. City Hall
The Washington Examiner