Republicans propose abortion ban

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced a 15-week national abortion ban

By Molly Dynda, Guest Writer

National Republicans, led by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), have introduced a national 15-week abortion ban, dividing some in his party.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has introduced a new bill aiming to ban abortions past 15-weeks, stating “this should be where America is at.”

Introduced Sept. 13, the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act proposes a nationwide abortion ban after 15 weeks with exceptions for rape, incest and saving the mother’s life. 

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Victims of rape and incest must file a police report and prove that they received counseling and healthcare for injuries, mental or physical, sustained from the crime. This bill also states that doctors could face up to five years in prison if they break this law.

The bill came as a surprise to Republicans and Democrats alike, as Graham’s previous stance was to allow states to create their own abortion policies. Lindsey also stated that he hopes this bill will form a unified Republican position.

Republican senators and upcoming nominees across the nation are taking various stance. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell states that many GOP senators believe this is a state issue. 

“With regard to his bill, you’ll have to ask him about it. In terms of scheduling, I think most of the members of my conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level,” McConnell said. 

Even so, a few of these senators would still support this bill. U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) stated he supports this bill and thinks it’s a compromise.

With midterms in mind, many Republican senators replied vaguely in response to questions about Graham’s bill. 

Incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has made his opposition to this bill clear. He stated he believes the overturning of Roe v. Wade was the right decision, and that part of that decision was leaving abortion legislation up to state-elected representatives. He is not running for re-election. 

‘Through its Dobbs ruling, the Supreme Court made this clear. I believe this was the right ruling and now our elected leaders in the states will make the decisions on this issue,” Portman stated.

Democratic Majority House Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) noted that he believes that for conservative Republicans, a nationwide ban has always been the goal despite the emphasis on states rights. 

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said that this shows the GOP is “focused on taking away a fundamental right.” 

Democratic senators have been quick to attempt to use this to their advantage with elections coming up, reaffirming their own pro-choice platforms as well as attempting to make their Republican opponents state their views on the bill. 

Sen. Graham introduced this bill with Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser along with other pro-life leaders at his side. Students for Life of America and March for Life President Jeanne Mancini noted that she believes that this bill is just the first step, as  nation-wide legislation needs to go further.

Pro-choice groups have criticized Graham and other Republicans for  saying that a 15-week ban is the long sought-after middle ground between pro-life and pro-choice advocates; they argue that saying 15 weeks is a late-term abortion is problematic. Some Democrats and Democratic-aligned organizations have attemped to use the bill to encourage voter participation ahead of November’s midterm election. After 

“We would like to thank Senator Graham for making it crystal clear to voters today that Republicans are running on a national abortion ban in these midterms,” Dani Negrete, national political director of the progressive advocacy group Indivisible, said.

“Any legislation that tells a person what they can or cannot do with their own bodies, which is not at all based in science or medicine, puts every pregnant person in this country at risk. The worst part is, they just don’t care about the harm this extreme legislation would cause,” Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said.

A recent report by Pew Research Center said that “A majority of registered voters (56%) say the issue of abortion will be very important in their midterm vote.

“If we are seeing women and young people registering at much higher rates at this point so close to the election, it’s highly likely that we’ll see more women and young voters participating in the election,” said Tom Bonier, from Democratic firm TargetSmart.