Remember last February when California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa refused to allow Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke to testify on employer health insurance coverage for birth control, preferring to hear from an all male-religious panel of “experts” instead?
It’s gotten worse. On Thursday, May 17, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) held a congressional hearing specifically to limit access to abortion services in Washington DC, which Congress controls – and refused to allow Eleanor Holmes Norton, who is DC’s only elected Delegate, to testify on how the bill would impact her constituents. As Think Progress reports, the bill “would prevent doctors from performing abortions after 20 weeks in D.C., based on the contested idea that a fetus can feel pain at that point.”
Think Progress reports that during the hearing:
Franks said late-term abortions were “the greatest human rights atrocity in the United States today,” calling the practice “inhumane.” And when he questioned a doctor who described an abortion procedure after 20 weeks, Franks compared the 20-week ban to animal cruelty statutes:
FRANKS: I find it tremendous — I don’t even want to use the word irony, just a break from human compassion that while we would do the right thing and prevent those things from happening…to animals, but not to human babies.
Both Norton and Nancy Pelosi decried the censorship:
Meanwhile, the Rachel Maddow show reported on an even more outrageous development in the South: preferring the old “coat- hanger” method of abortion to a hospital clinic because of “moral values.”
This is from the Maddow blog:
Mississippi State Representative Bubba Carpenter, speaking to the Alcorn County GOP on Thursday, said as much:
“It’s going to be challenged, of course, in the Supreme Court and all — but literally, we stopped abortion in the state of Mississippi, legally, without having to– Roe vs. Wade. So we’ve done that. I was proud of it. The governor signed it into law. And of course, there you have the other side. They’re like, ‘Well, the poor pitiful women that can’t afford to go out of state are just going to start doing them at home with a coat hanger.’ That’s what we’ve heard over and over and over.”
But hey, you have to have moral values. You have to start somewhere, and that’s what we’ve decided to do. This became law and the governor signed it, and I think for one time, we were first in the nation in the state of Mississippi.”I got a chance to ask Representative Carpenter about the coat hanger part today. “That was what a lot of our critics on the House floor said during the debate,” he told me. “That was just some language that some of the African-Americans used.” A few white Democrats also spoke out about the old “home remedies,” he remembered, but in the end the measure passed with support from several Democrats.
The owner of the state’s lone clinic says she’ll sue to block the law, which takes effect July 1, if her doctors can’t get admitting privileges. Tonight on the show, yet more anti-abortion legislation in the states.