Utah senator files D.C. abortion limits as amendment to cybersecurity bill

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Photo - Anti-abortion demonstrators protest in D.C. in January. The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on a bill that would ban late-term abortions in the city. (Examiner file photo)
Anti-abortion demonstrators protest in D.C. in January. The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on a bill that would ban late-term abortions in the city. (Examiner file photo)
Local,DC,Alan Blinder

The House might have voted down a proposal to ban abortions in the District after a woman's 20th week of pregnancy, but a Utah senator wants to attach a similar measure to a cybersecurity bill making its way through the Senate.

Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican, had introduced legislation that would bar abortions in the District after the 20-week mark because, abortion opponents say, fetuses can feel pain.

But the measure had little chance of succeeding in the Senate, which Democrats control, so Lee has filed the abortion limit as an amendment to the broader cybersecurity bill.

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton slammed Lee's efforts Wednesday, the day after the House blocked passage of a comparable proposal.

"What House Republicans failed to do yesterday, the Senate is unlikely to be keen to take up," Norton said in a statement.

Pedro Ribeiro, a spokesman for D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, blasted Lee for attaching an "entirely ungermane" amendment to the cybersecurity proposal.

"It's disconcerting to see a senator from a western state trying to involve himself in a local matter," Ribeiro said.

A spokesman for Lee referred a reporter to a statement the senator issued when he first introduced D.C. abortion legislation in February.

"Protecting unborn children from experiencing pain should not be controversial," Lee said in February. "Similar laws have already been passed in multiple states. With respect to the federal District, Congress not only has the responsibility to act immediately, but also the undisputed authority to do so."

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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