Protesters petition Franks over abortion bill
||Friday, March 9, 2012
A small group of protesters marched outside the local office of Rep. Trent Franks Thursday morning, urging the congressman to rescind a bill he introduced that would ban nearly all abortions after 20 weeks for women in the District of Columbia.
The bill, dubbed the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, was introduced in January. Thursday’s protest was organized by DC Vote, a group advocating for greater autonomy and self-governance for the residents of the District of Columbia.
Liz Hourican, of CODEPINK Arizona, said she believes DC Vote has a point, both in advocating for women’s rights and in wanting greater representation in government.
“I’m here because Trent Franks is imposing his rigid ideology on the people of D.C., and it is not right,” she said. “We have people here from all over the state because this is a very important issue.”
About 20 people participated in the protest, holding signs and chanting along the street outside Franks’ office at 7121 W. Bell Road in Glendale. They then marched around the block and into Franks’ office to deliver their message and a petition to ask Franks to reconsider the bill.
Bob Hardy, 80, of Tempe has been advocating for women’s rights for decades. He said he participated in the protest because he believes those rights are under attack.
“My wife (Inéz Casiano) was one of the founding members of the National Organization for Women,” he said. “She fought her whole life for women’s rights and now that she’s gone I have continued to do so.”
Hardy said he views Franks’ bill in Washington, D.C., and similar measures at the state level, as well as the recent debates over insurance coverage for contraception, as related.
“I think these things are all part of a concerted effort to deny choice to women,” he said. “These efforts betray a disregard for women as human beings. I have three daughters, and I’ve always felt they should be able to make their own choices. It’s the principle.”
Cecilia Varela has lived in Glendale since 1969. She said she joined the protest Thursday because she is fed up with Franks’ voting record.
“I’m tired of him voting against women,” she said. “The decisions made about a woman’s body are between her and her doctor. The government has no business getting involved.”
The protesters met briefly with Daniel Hay, Franks’ district chief of staff, who declined to comment on the group’s concerns.
“We’re here to listen to your comments and to make sure Congressman Franks hears what you have to say,” Hay said.