Graham unveils nationwide abortion ban after 15 weeks
WASHINGTON - Upending the political debate, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced a nationwide abortion ban Tuesday, sending shockwaves through both parties and igniting fresh debate on a fraught issue weeks before the midterm elections that will determine control of Congress.
The South Carolina Republican said the act would set federal minimum protection for unborn children and ban abortion after 15 weeks of gestation. He said medical care calls for unborn babies to receive pain medication during fetal surgery at 15 weeks gestation.
“America’s got to make some decisions,” Graham said in a news conference at the Capitol.
He said rather than shying away from the Supreme Court’s ruling this summer overturning Roe vs. Wade’s nearly 50-year right to abortion access, Republicans are preparing to fight to make a nationwide abortion ban federal law.
Exceptions would include situations involving rape, incest, or risks to the life and physical health of the mother.
Graham said, “Our legislation, which bans abortion after 15 weeks gestation, will put the United States abortion policy in line with other developed nations such as France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, and other European nations.”
“This bill is wildly out of step with what Americans believe,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in a statement.
“While President Biden and Vice President Harris are focused on the historic passage of the Inflation Reduction Act to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, health care, and energy – and to take unprecedented action to address climate change – Republicans in Congress are focused on taking rights away from millions of women,” Jean-Pierre said.
Graham’s legislation has almost zero chance of becoming law, but it elevates the abortion issue at a time when other Republicans would prefer to focus on inflation, border security and Biden’s leadership.
Graham’s bill would leave in place state laws that are more restrictive. That provision is notable because many Republicans have argued the Supreme Court’s ruling leaves the abortion issue for the states to decide. But the legislation from the Republicans makes it clear states are only allowed to decide the issue if their abortion bans are more stringent.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who is one seat away from majority control, declined to embrace Graham’s legislation.
“I think every Republican senator running this year in these contested races has an answer as to how they feel about the issue,” McConnell said. “So I leave it up to our candidates who are quite capable of handling this issue to determine for them what their response is.”
READ THE LEGISLATION:
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