When the Supreme Court ruled this summer on overturning Roe v. Wade’s nearly 50-year federal right to an abortion, Republicans argued that the court’s ruling leaves the abortion issue for the states to decide.
But last week, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced a bill calling for a nationwide abortion ban. The bill would prohibit abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the physical health of the mother.
“America’s got to make some decisions,” Graham said at a news conference at the Capitol.
Graham said that rather than shying away from the Supreme Court’s ruling this summer overturning federal abortion access, Republicans are preparing to fight to make a nationwide abortion ban federal law.
“Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, we’re going nowhere,” the senator said while flanked by female advocates from the anti-abortion movement. “We welcome the debate. We welcome the vote in the United States Senate as to what America should look like in 2022.”
The abortion ban legislation Graham introduced last Tuesday is an alarming signal of where Republicans are headed if they win control of the House and Senate in the upcoming midterm elections in November.
In response to the Supreme Court ruling many Republican-controlled states moved swiftly to enact strict abortion bans. Graham’s bill would leave in place state laws that are more restrictive. The South Carolina Republican’s bill makes it clear that 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. He said most GOP senators prefer having the issue dealt with by the states, rather than at the federal level. “So I leave it up to our candidates who are quite capable of handling this issue to determine for them what their response is.”
The Democratic senators most at risk this fall and other Democratic candidates running for Congress appeared eager to fight against Graham’s proposed nationwide abortion ban.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rightfully called Graham’s bill the “clearest signal of extreme MAGA Republicans’ intent to criminalize women’s health freedom in all 50 states and arrest doctors for providing basic care. Make no mistake: if Republicans get the chance, they will work to pass laws even more draconian than this bill.”