Rep. Trent Franks, a Republican from Arizona, seems to think he is much better attuned to the needs of District of Columbia residents and their elected (but non-voting) representative, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D). When Franks introduced a bill that would ban abortions in D.C. after 20 weeks of gestation, he wouldn’t let Norton speak at a hearing in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, which he chairs.
Since Franks appears to be so interested in D.C. affairs, some 50 residents of the district showed up Wednesday in a clever bit of protesting at his office to give him the skinny on what he can do for them since he apparently has spare time from his duties speaking for the people of Arizona’s 2nd District.
Organized by DC Vote, which seeks full representation for D.C. in Congress, and Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, the protesters each spent a few minutes seeking help from “Mayor” Franks in getting potholes repaired, rat infestations exterminated, parking tickets fixed, Washington mass transit fully funded and other matters of local concern dealt with.
Franks didn’t talk with a single one of them.
“I have to say I’m very disappointed today,” [said one 56-year-old protester]. “I really wanted to meet my representative, Mr. Franks. He’s supposed to be representing us and I did take some time to come in here today, so I hope he takes these concerns into account.”
Franks said last week that D.C. representation has nothing to do with his bill, H.R. 3803, the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks regardless of the circumstances. Ilir Zherka of D.C. Vote disagreed:
“If [Franks] continues to act like a D.C. Council member or mayor of the District, then we’re going to treat him that way. [...] Clearly this isn’t easy to talk about and it’s important for me but it’s really important for all of the women that don’t know that they have to make this decision. [...] I have a house here. I vote here. I voted in a special election in my ward the other day. So I take that very seriously and the notion that somebody would come in from the outside and try to impose law that doesn’t reflect what the rest of D.C. residents [think], I think that’s a huge issue.”
Huge, indeed. But then the fact that D.C. residents get no say in this matter makes no never mind to Franks and like-minded politicians. They are, after all, working prodigiously on a broad front to keep women and their doctors from having a say about a medical procedure that should be a decision made solely by them. Why would they care whether D.C. voters get a say on lesser matters?