House Republicans are holding a hearing, led by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), pushing a bill that would limit abortion rights in DC. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton was denied her request to testify. It is a generally accepted courtesy that if a member of Congress wants to testify at a hearing they are granted that. The committee is “considering legislation that would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy in the District,” First Read DMV writes.
The Washington Post: “Rep. Trent Franks’ (R-Ariz.) bill, the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, would prohibit all D.C. abortions beyond 20 weeks except to save the life of the mother, based on the much-debated idea that fetuses beyond that point are capable of feeling pain. The measure will be the subject of a 4 p.m. hearing before the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, which Franks chairs.”
More: “D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) also gave his take, sarcastically suggesting that if Franks ‘feels this strongly’ about how the District runs itself, ‘I would invite him to become a candidate for D.C. Council.’”
And: “Traditionally, the minority party in the House is allowed to invite the testimony of one witness. For this hearing, Democrats have tapped Christy Zink, a D.C. resident who has spoken publicly before of having an abortion at 21 weeks after tests showed her fetus had life-threatening brain anomalies. Republicans have asked three doctors to testify. A Republican Judiciary Committee aide who requested anonymity to discuss the decision said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), the subcommittee’s top Democrats, ‘has complete discretion as to whom the Democrats’ witness is. Nadler chose a D.C. resident, Christy Zink. Nadler could have invited Ms. Norton, but he didn’t.’ But members of Congress are usually allowed to testify at a hearing, separate from any witness quota, if a bill specifically impacts their districts.”
Politico: “Republicans aren't repeating the mistake they made earlier this year, when a male-heavy panel during a hearing on contraception prompted Norton and other Democrats to walk out in protest. Christy Zink, a George Washington University professor who was forced to have an abortion late in her pregnancy due to complications, will testify.”
DCist: “On yesterday's Rachel Maddow Show, Norton called Franks' bill a ‘straight-out cowardly case of bullying’ and said that ‘abundant precedent’ existed for allowing members of Congress to speak during committee hearings—even if they're not a member of that committee.”