Gray, Norton to criticize GOP proposal on District abortions

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Local,Alan Blinder

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton on Tuesday plan to protest a proposal making its way through the Republican-controlled House that would ban most abortions in the District.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., and 130 others in the lower chamber, would bar abortions in D.C. unless the life of the pregnant mother was endangered. Under the proposal, a doctor who performed the procedure would face up to two years in prison.

Two House committees are considering the proposal.

Even though the measure has a long way to go before a House floor vote — after which it would face stiff opposition in the Senate, where Democrats have a narrow edge — Gray and Norton will criticize the bill as "anti-home rule."

They'll make their case at a 10 a.m. news conference on Capitol Hill.

Abortion rights in D.C. have long been a target of conservatives in Congress. The issue became a focal point during debt ceiling negotiations last year.

Then, President Barack Obama cut a deal with House Republicans to ban temporarily taxpayer-funded abortions in the District to avoid closing the federal government's doors.

Later, California Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican who chairs the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, drafted a proposal to grant the District budget autonomy in exchange for permanent restrictions on abortions in the city. District leaders rejected Issa's plan.

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Alan Blinder

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