Eleanor Holmes Norton

Speaking Out Against HR3 - Feb. 8, 2011

Eleanor Holmes Norton
February 08, 2011— Washington, DC
Press conference
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What you have heard already should be enough to inform you that this is the harshest anti-choice bill ever introduced into Congress. So, you would imagine that there is no way to make it any harsher. Well, Republicans have found just such a way. They have targeted my own district specifically. I am going to ask Chairman Nadler at 4 o’clock to put into the record my protest that I have been denied the right to testify about this bill even though the bill specifically targets my district.

In two decades in Congress, I have never seen a member turned away from testifying particularly when some of the bill is about her district. This bill has an unprecedented section called “Applications to the District of Columbia.” As you might imagine, the District of Columbia is entirely [….] as to a federal anti-choice bill that threatens the health of millions of American women. Not content with piling on with respect to women, they are now piling on the district as well, crossing the line between autocracy and democracy to dictate to the self-governing District of Columbia that it may not use its own taxpayer-raised money for abortions for low income women.

Look what the Republicans have done. They rode into Congress on the wings of a promise of jobs and are yet to introduce a single jobs bill and are now quickly reverting to type. They are giving priority to the social issues that had much to do with their loss of the House just a few years ago.

Two of their top bills are uniquely targeting one district, my own District of Columbia. They introduced a D.C.-only private school voucher bill even though the District of Columbia has half of its children in alternative public charter schools with long waiting lists. If you wanted to help the children of the District of Columbia, Speaker Boehner, whose bill this is, we would certainly try to use some money to shorten those lists. They don’t have the guts to put in a voucher bill for the entire nation. They pick on the District of Columbia because they think that they can. I am here today to tell them that they can’t.

To compound their injury, they have incorporated into the anti-choice bill, HR3, a provision which does nothing less than federalize the District of Columbia for purposes of choice by prohibiting the city from using its own funds to carry out the wishes of its own residents.

We’re not going to allow the re-imposition of these bans on the District of Columbia. We were successful in getting all of them removed, including one that alone is responsible for the district having the highest AIDS rate in the United States because we couldn’t use our own funds for needle exchange.

We are here today to put the Republicans on notice. The District of Columbia is not a colony of the Congress, nor are our low income women. We will not let the majority get away with supporting democracy everywhere on the face of the earth except in the nation’s capital. The Republicans have gone many steps too far. They not only introduced a bill decidedly harmful to all women, but tried to make it worse for the women of the District of Columbia and take down part of the local government’s authority in the process.

This majority says it supports limiting the federal government’s power and devolving power to states and localities. This bill does the opposite by using federal power to snatch local authority from the District of Columbia and its people, and it picks on those least able to help themselves…Those who have been denied choice already for more than 10 years, because we only recently were able to get the ban on local funds for low-income women removed. We are not going back in the District of Columbia.

Speech from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M9VBpThcVE.