Prevent D.C. Congresswoman from Being Silenced in Abortion Hearings

Target: Representative Trent Franks

Goal: Allow Congresswoman Elanor Norton to speak at abortion hearings in her own district.

In hearings on an upcoming House of Representatives referendum that would ban abortions after 20 weeks in Washington D.C., Congresswoman Elanor Norton has been prevented from testifying on a bill that would directly affect her district.  Chairman Trent Franks apparently offered Norton the chance to sit on the dais during the hearing, but not to speak.  Although he was technically within his rights to do so, as the Democratic minority had already chosen their one allotted witness, there is a long tradition of allowing representatives to testify regardless when the subject matter touched upon could affect their district.

The bill, called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, is the first bill ever to be introduced in Congress which would deny rights to citizens in only one jurisdiction of the United States.  It takes advantage of D.C.’s lack of statehood to run a social experiment with its citizens, and infringes upon the district’s right to home-rule.  The bill also does not provide for any exceptions due to rape, incest, or health conditions for the mother or child.

Trent Franks, who stopped Norton’s testimony and is the main force behind the bill, is a Congressman from Texas — quite far away from the District of Columbia.  Holmes, by contrast, is an elected Representative of the district and a native of D.C.  Do not allow Congressman Franks to silence women’s voices and infringe on Washington D.C.’s right to home rule by signing today.


Dear Representative Franks,

I am writing to demand you allow the voice of Representative Elanor Norton to be heard in the hearings surrounding the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act pending before the house.  As this is a bill that would directly affect her district, there is a long tradition which should allow Norton to testify even though a witness had already been chosen by the Democratic minority.

The act you propose takes advantage of D.C.’s status as a jurisdiction rather than a state in order to conduct an experiment in a district not your own.  It is an infringement upon D.C.’s right to home rule and self-govern and is unfair to actual residents.  Preventing Norton from testifying on a matter that directly affects her constituents may be technically legal, but it is patently unfair and not in keeping with traditions of governance.

I ask that you revise your stance and allow for Norton’s testimony to be heard on this matter.  Though you were within your rights in preventing her from speaking, your actions in silencing the voice of a district representative with a vested interest in this matter is shameful.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: army.arch via Flickr

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