Trent Franks: Arizona congressman or D.C. mayor?
||Arizona Republic (AZ)
||Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Trent Franks is the longtime representative of Arizona’s second congressional district. Or is he the mayor of Washington, D.C.?
From the time that Franks was appointed in the 1980s by then-Gov. Evan Mecham (who was later impeached and removed from office) to head the Governor's Office for Children, Franks has been a strident anti-abortion activist.
Given the make-up of Congress, however, and its lack of authority over such issues with states, there isn’t much that Franks can do to push his long-held personal agenda except to encourage each president who comes into office to appoint Supreme Court judges who will overturn Roe v. Wade.
Franks is a vehement advocate of limited government – EXCEPT when it comes to a woman’s right to choose.
On that issue he wants the government to impose its will.
The people of Washington, D.C., are learning all about that these days. This obscure congressman from a state thousands of miles away is pushing legislation that would ban abortions in the District after 20 weeks of pregnancy. (See an article from Cronkite News here.)
The District has no voting member in Congress, bu Congress has authority over the District.
Some residents aren’t pleased by Franks’ actions, staging protests at his office.
The District’s non-voting delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, has said that Franks’ bill is "at odds with the views of most residents of the District of Columbia."
Another D.C. activist said that Franks is trying to “impose his personal political beliefs on people who don't support his political beliefs and certainly didn't put him in office.”
So how does a politician who rails against big government justify imposing is personal agenda on people who didn’t put him in office?
I contacted Franks’ office about this and one of his spokesmen sent me this statement from the congressman:
"Those, like Representative 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."
The statement is a long, roundabout method of avoiding the fact that Franks is intruding to a local jurisdiction’s affairs, using what he would call big government to dictate to people he doesn’t know and who didn’t elect him, and saying in a haughty I-am-a-congressman way that he is doing this … because he can.