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Senator Lee takes heat for abortion bill
by JENNIFER AUSTIN | Clipper Editor
Feb 14, 2012 | 734 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WASHINGTON D.C. – Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, is taking some heat for a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the District of Columbia, but he stood by that bill today in a teleconference saying: “A human fetus can suffer pain, significant pain, after the 20th week of pregnancy.”

According to Lee, five states have adopted the policy to ban abortions after the 20th week, and because the District of Columbia is not a state, it is run by Congress much in the same way Utah’s laws are decided by the Utah Legislature.

On her website, Congresswoman Eleanor Norton, who represents the District of Columbia, said Lee introduced an “anti-federalist bill … in what could be a step toward banning such abortions nationwide. Senator Lee is trying to undemocratically usurp local authority outside his own state in violation of every founding principle of local control, and at the same time to introduce the idea that basic constitutional rights depend on where a citizen lives. There can be no justification for denying the federal-taxpaying residents of the nation’s capital the same rights as other American citizens.”

Lee argued that Congress acts in the same way as the state legislatures and said the “city council” in the District of Columbia has no authority to make that decision.

“That is absurd of her to suggest that it is a state,” Lee said. “It’s not … It is not undemocratic in any respect.”

Lee said that while Congress does not have the authority to tell states what laws to enact in the areas of medicine, murder, rape or kidnapping, he believes the bill, District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, would be a good one for Utah to adopt, but said he is not in the habit of telling Utah legislators what to do.

“A simple nationwide ban … is not something that fits in Congress’ powers and that would be inappropriate,” Lee said.

austin@davisclipper.com
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