How D.C. Became the Frontline of the Abortion Wars
Alabama, Nebraska, Idaho, Indiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arizona, Georgia — politically, these states have much in common. All have Republican-dominated statehouses, have swung red in recent presidential elections (Indiana in 2008 being the sole exception), and have constitutional or statutory bans on gay marriage.
So what does the District of Columbia, arguably the most liberal city in the nation, which for the past 40 years has elected only Democratic mayors and presidents, and which legalized gay marriage several years ago, have in common with these crimson states?
Abortion regulation, as it turns out. D.C. is the latest state to consider a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, based on the disputed claim that that’s when fetuses begin to feel pain. Except D.C. is not a state, and it’s not doing the considering. The story of how the District found itself on the front lines of the abortion wars is a lesson in the irony of D.C.’s governance model and in the evolving strategy of the anti-abortion rights movement.