Groups protest Franks anti-abortion bill
||Thursday, March 15, 2012
To the uninitiated, it was a surprise. They could not actively protest in front of Congressman Trent Franks’ office on West Bell Road, but they could gather on a sidewalk along the main thoroughfare.
Representatives from Planned Parenthood of Arizona and National Organization for Women (NOW), along with individuals who said they felt compelled to speak out against Franks (R-Dist. 2) held their signs and waved to passing motorists.
Why the protest? It was the idea of an organization based in Washington, D.C. known as DC Vote. Its supporters have been trying since its founding in 1998 to secure full voting representation in Congress for residents of the nation’s capitol.
But the protest’s focus last week was on a bill sponsored by Franks titled The District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 3803/S. 2103). The bill only applies to the District of Columbia. According to Jones, the bill would ban nearly all post-20 week abortions in the District of Columbia.
While protestors gathered around him, Jones said, “We’re here to let Rep. Franks know his business is improving the economy and jobs for residents of Arizona. In D.C., we pay more taxes than anybody. Franks’ personal agenda is for the people of D.C. with no consequences. It is appalling in the United States a person can impose a law on us.”
Karen Condej, chair of Phoenix/Scottsdale NOW, said, “Franks should find something better to do than stomp on the women of D.C.”
DC Vote Communication Director James Jones arrived in Arizona late Wednesday afternoon, and by Thursday morning, had an entourage of support from Planned Parenthood and NOW.
But two City of Glendale police officers made it clear the protesters could not gather within the confines of the parking lot or sidewalks on private property.
One protestor, Joyce Smith of Tucson Democracy vs. Corporations, objected to the limitation, saying, “He’s a public official, not a private official.” She said it should not matter whether his office is on private property.”
There were individuals who came on their own. Glendale resident Orene Anderson called herself “a woman with a voice, and here I am.” She said her father fought in World War II and “worked very hard to give us the right to do this.”
She quoted Thomas Jefferson, who said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
Peoria resident Maureen Fauss, with Organizing for America Blue West Valley, said, “Too many things are going wrong to wage a war on women.”
Following the protest, Jones took petitions he had circulated and turned them over to workers at Franks’ office, 7121 W. Bell Road, Suite 200.
Franks, who was in Alabama Monday on behalf of presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, commented on the bill and the protestors via e-mail, saying, “Those, like Rep. Holmes-Norton, who oppose the D.C. Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act on the basis that its primary sponsor is from a different state, simply fail to understand a Constitutional principle that couldn’t be more plain. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that, ‘The Congress shall have Power …to exercise exclusive legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of the particular states, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the seat of government of the United States.’ The Constitution could not possibly be more clear. Congress has the seminal and incontrovertible responsibility for making legislative policy in the District of Columbia. Those who pretend to question that are in fact trying to direct attention away from the true purpose of this bill, which is to help prevent unborn children beginning at the sixth month of pregnancy and beyond from being subject to the agonizing process of being aborted.
“If Congress does not pass this law, DC could become a safe-haven for late-term abortionists across the country, including those who have been stripped of their licenses for negligence or ethics violations in the states. \ Many states have passed this bill already, and I believe that most states will pass it in the near future, including my state, Arizona.
“Medical science proves that the unborn feel pain by at least 20 weeks and perhaps much earlier. There is no disagreement in the medical community as to this point. My office can furnish much incontrovertible research to support this finding.”