The District of Columbia Ought Not be “the capital of late-term abortions”

By Dave Andrusko

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)

If you go to the NRLC “Legislative Alert” found at, you will learn a shocking truth:

“Did you know that in our nation’s capital, unborn children daily are subjected to terribly painful deaths, even during the sixth and seventh months of pregnancy, or even later?  Did you know that these practices are perfectly legal — because in the District of Columbia, abortion is now legal at any point in pregnancy, for any reason, as long as someone is willing to pay the abortionist for the gruesome ‘service’?”

A top federal legislative priority for NRLC in 2012 is redressing that injustice. To that end Congressman Trent Franks (R-Az.), with the strong support of the National Right to Life Committee, introduced the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 3803).   In this bill, Congress would declare that at least by 20 weeks after fertilization, an unborn child has the capacity to experience pain — and, on that basis, the bill would prohibit abortions within the Federal District (except when acute physical problems endanger the life of the mother) from that point on (from the beginning of the sixth month, in layperson’s terminology).

Yesterday, the newspaper Roll Call ran an interesting story on the bill, interesting in the sense that the reader sees the strategy pro-abortionists are employing to take attention off a horror reality: That there is an abortion “clinic” in the District of Columbia which openly advertises abortion on demand up to the beginning of the seventh month of pregnancy.

The method by which the child is killed– the abortionist grasps the little arms and legs of the well-developed unborn baby and literally tears them off, one by one, by brute manual force—is so grotesque the only way supporters can “defend” it is by changing the subject.

And that’s what we read in the Roll Call article. Opponents argue the slippery slope—if you can’t rip babies apart capable of feeling pain in the District—maybe the legislation will take hold elsewhere. (Similar legislation has already been acted in five states — Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Idaho — with more states expected to join the list during 2012.) 

The other is “autonomy” for the district. Rep. Franks politely dealt with that canard in the story.

“It’s too bad they even bring this issue of autonomy up because if you look at the Constitution — and I’m the chairman of the [House Judiciary] Constitution Subcommittee, so this isn’t something I take lightly — you see there is no possible rational argument that Congress doesn’t have the full right to legislate in the District of Columbia,” Franks said. “Even a liberal lawyer is going to have a hard time twisting that.”

Roll Call’s Emma Dumain interviewed National Right to Life Committee Legislative Director Douglas Johnson who said, “The nation’s capital belongs to all the American people, and we don’t think most Americans believe their capital ought to be the capital of late-term abortions.”

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