Fact-check: NARAL abortion activist Nancy Keenan makes deceptive witness claim


Was Washington, D.C.’s pro-abortion representative really forbidden to testify at an abortion hearing?

Nancy Keenan, president of the pro-abortion access group NARAL, wrote in an e-mail sent May 17:

Today, a subcommittee dominated by anti-choice male politicians refused to let D.C.’s lone representative, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, testify on behalf of her constituents – the very women who will be affected if this ban becomes law. Is this starting to sound familiar?

The truth?

Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, tells the full story in an e-mail to LifeNews:

The Democrats on the House Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee had a discretionary witness slot for the May 17 hearing on H.R. 3803, the bill to prohibit abortion of pain-capable unborn children, after 20 weeks, in the District. The Democrats could have used that slot to invite Norton, or to invite any other person they chose to discuss the implications of the bill for “D.C. autonomy,” if they really thought that “D.C. autonomy” was the primary issue raised by this bill. But instead, the Democrats invited a woman who had a late abortion. Apparently, then, the Democrats in Congress who are really calling the shots — or the pro-abortion activist lobbyists who advise them what shots to call — think that this bill and this hearing are, first and foremost, about late abortions, not about “D.C. autonomy.” And we agree. In fact, we have found that many lawmakers are shocked to learn that in the nation’s capital, abortion is legal for any reason, to the moment of birth.

So if House Democrats wanted to call Norton to testify, they could have, but instead they chose to select another witness to testify. One could just as easily argue that it was the abortion-supporting Democrats who prevented Norton from testifying because neither side chose to call Norton with its witness choices. Deciding to not call a witness is not equivalent to refusing to let an individual testify, and making such a claim amounts to deceptive political rhetoric from Keenan.

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