On July 10th, Congressman Trent Franks will have his bill to restrict abortion services to the women of the District of Columbia marked up in the House Judiciary Committee. As it stands his bill is both legal and constitutional but it is also bad policy and counter to the principles of the Constitution (yes, while still being constitutional). Over our history our country has realized that our union was neither perfect nor complete so through the passage of laws and constitutional amendments we’ve moved to become more democratic not less with the exception of the people of the District of Columbia.
When our Constitution was ratified only white males over the age of 21 who owned property could vote. Then the stipulation on property ownership was relaxed, expanding the franchise to all white males over 21. After fighting a civil war over slavery (save it all you “states rights” folks, the damn war was about slavery) the 15th Amendment to the Constitution was passed expanding the franchise to African-American males. This was followed by a sad chapter when state and local laws were written to deny African-Americans the right to vote.
In 1920, the 19th Amendment was passed which granted women the right to vote doubling the number of voters in the country. And then in the 1960s the Civil Rights Movement brought a sea of change bringing about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which gave the federal government the power to enforce the 15th Amendment on the states. And then, following the Vietnam War the 26th Amendment was passed to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. The 26th Amendment came about because so many young people went off and were asked to fight a war for their country but weren’t allowed to vote for those who sent them to war. And so, for 18 year olds across the country, except for in Washington, DC, they have the power and the right to vote for our against members of Congress. The time has come to permanently expand the franchise to those of us in the District of Columbia and the proper path is through Statehood.
Trent Franks is a reckless thug hellbent on making a name for himself. We can go to his District and campaign against him, which we should; we can protest at his hearings, which we should; we can call his office and pester the hell out of his staff with requests for help with trash, potholes, and street light issues because he’s acting like a local legislator, which we should. But we can’t lose sight through his smoke and mirrors that we have a bigger battle to fight. Our fight should be for Statehood for New Columbia not against Trent Franks. Our struggle should be focused on gaining allies in the House and the Senate not about one-off protests. Protests are good and vitally important to protect the city against bullies like Trent Franks and Rand Paul but let’s not get distracted. We’ve been distracted for over 200+ years and it’s now time to focus on Statehood…here’s how:
Call the offices of members of the Judiciary Committee and ask them to offer H.R. 265, the New Columbia Admission Act as an amendment to Trent Franks abortion bill. Should the abortion bill pass with Statehood as an amendment we could just ignore the abortion bill outright because we’d be a state. Instead of arguing with Trent Franks about 19 weeks or 20 weeks of pregnancy let’s win the day by amending his bill with a Statehood amendment. Let’s stop playing defense and start taking the offensive in the Statehood cause.
Join the movement, we need you!