Home Graham proposes federal abortion ban, sending Republicans running for political cover

Graham proposes federal abortion ban, sending Republicans running for political cover

Chris Graham
(© doganmesut – stock.adobe.com)

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced legislation that would a 15-week nationwide abortion ban on Tuesday, an apparent effort to unify Republicans on the issue that appears to be having the opposite effect.

“You’ll have to ask him about it,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, adding that most Republicans want to see abortion restrictions left to the states.

McConnell was one of several top Senate Republicans to distance themselves from Graham’s bill, which would ban both medical or drug-induced abortions nationwide after 15 weeks, with exceptions written into the bill for rape, incest and pregnancies that threaten maternal health.

“There is a consensus view by the most prominent pro-life groups in America that this is where America should be at the federal level,” Graham said. “I don’t think this is going to hurt us. I think it will more likely hurt [Democrats] when they try to explain to some reasonable person why it’s OK to be more like Iran and less like France on abortion.”

The blowback from the Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs case overturning 50 years of what had been settled law protecting women’s right to choose has put Republicans on the defensive with the midterms looming in November.

Polls show huge majorities of Americans disagree with the court’s decision to allow states to enact their own restrictions on abortion rights, putting wind behind the sails of Democrats in a midterm cycle that had been trending Republican.

“Proposals like the one today send a clear message from MAGA Republicans to women across the country: Your body, our choice,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday. “Rather than expanding women’s rights, MAGA Republicans would curtail them. Rather than giving individuals the freedom to make their own health care choices, they hand that power over to radical politicians.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement that Graham’s bill “is wildly out of step with what Americans believe.”

“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. The President and Vice President are fighting for progress, while Republicans are fighting to take us back,” Jean-Pierre said.

“President Biden and Congressional Democrats are committed to restoring the protections of Roe v. Wade in the face of continued radical steps by elected Republicans to put personal health care decisions in the hands of politicians instead of women and their doctors, threatening women’s health and lives,” she added.

Sara Tabatabaie from the women’s rights group #VOTEPROCHOICE said Graham’s bill “is the latest example of what’s at stake in this moment for the future of reproductive freedom.”

“Anti-choice Republicans have spent 50 years working to dismantle abortion rights, so we know—and have always known—that Republicans would jump at the opportunity to introduce a national abortion ban as soon as they successfully overturned Roe v. Wade,” Tabatabaie said. “This newly proposed ban lays the truth bare: For anti-choice politicians, this was never about ‘states’ rights.’ This has always been about controlling our decisions and our families.

“When people show you who they are, believe them,” Tabatabaie said. “Despite the fact that Republicans across the country have been scrambling to delete anti-choice positions from their websites, walking back previous anti-abortion statements, their plans remained obvious: They were always going to push for a national abortion ban.

It’s obvious that Republicans would rather not have to address angry constituents on Graham’s proposed national ban.

“I don’t think there’s an appetite for a national platform here,” West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said. “My state, today, is working on this. I’m not sure what he’s thinking here. But I don’t think there will be a rallying around that concept. I don’t think there’s much of an appetite to go that direction.”

“That wasn’t a conference decision. It was an individual senator’s decision,” Texas Sen. John Cornyn said. “There’s obviously a split of opinion in terms of whether abortion law should be decided by the states, which is my preference … and those who want to set some sort of minimum standard. I would keep an open mind on this, but my preference would be for those decisions to be made on a state-by-state basis.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].