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Mr. Franks said Democrats could have picked any witness they wanted, but opted for Christy Zink, a D.C. resident who had an abortion at 21 weeks post-fertilization after doctors found “severe brain abnormalities” in the fetus.

Mrs. Zink, who has a 5-year-old daughter and 11-month-old son, said she and her husband had to make “the most difficult decision of our lives” after consulting with doctors. Her unborn child, she said, would have had “no chance of life and near-constant pain.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat and ranking subcommittee member, said he found Mrs. Zink to address fundamental policy issues, but had hoped House Republicans would extend Mrs. Norton the courtesy of allowing her to testify as an elected representative of the District.

“It’s a sham proceeding,” Mr. Nadler said. “It’s obnoxious conduct.”

The National Right to Life Committee, an anti-abortion group, said it has made Mr. Franks‘ bill its top priority for 2012 and will score House members on how they vote.

Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, has introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

Mr. Franks punctuated the hearing with fervent comments on the sanctity of unborn children’s lives, arguing that his colleagues should not “blind ourselves from a truth we don’t want to face.”

D.C. Vote, an organization that advocates for home rule in the District, has been active in fighting Mr. Franks‘ bill. It organized a protest in March outside Mr. Franks‘ offices on Capitol Hill and in Glendale, Ariz., that played off the congressman’s surname with the tagline, “Don’t be a wiener.”

On Wednesday, it will host a mock “D.C. Constituent Service Day” at Mr. Frank’s House office, in which city residents can bring their problems and concerns to the congressman, because, the group says, he “has appointed himself a local overseer.”