Republicans could ban abortion in D.C.

As the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. is a federal district with limited self-government under the 1973 Home Rule Act. The Constitution bestows Congress with the ultimate power to govern the District.

That power sharing over the past 49 years — though tested annually on hot-button issues like gun rights, marijuana legalization and abortion — has gradually given the District greater autonomy, especially over its budget. But that may be about to change. The hard right turn of the Republican Party, along with the likely prospect that the GOP could win control of at least one house of Congress in November’s midterm elections, has the potential to strip the District of its authority.

Some conservative Republicans are already vowing to introduce legislation banning abortion in D.C. They succeeded years ago at prohibiting D.C. from using federal or local tax dollars to fund abortions. Now one of the most vocal is Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.). He says that the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade will be “at the forefront” of his focus next Congress, adding in an email, “I look forward to ending D.C.’s failed experiment of Home Rule once and for all.”

“The District is under attack in every single session, but this is a particularly treacherous moment,” says Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s non-voting delegate in the House. “It presents a unique threat to the right to abortions.”