Lindsey Graham is leading a renewed effort to enact a federal ban on abortion that could become law if Republicans gain control of Congress.
The White House released a statement on Tuesday criticizing legislation proposed by Senate Republicans that would impose federal restrictions on abortion. The White House’s statement is on the same day Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced his intent to propose legislation entitled the “Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act” which would banabortions after the gestation period of a fetus surpasses 15 weeks.
Graham’s bill would also require that rape victims seeking an abortion prove that they reported the assault to law enforcement or a government agency, previously sought medical treatment or counseling. If enacted, those in violation of the law could face up to five years in prison.
“Today, Senator Graham introduced a national ban on abortion which would strip away women’s rights in all 50 states. This bill is wildly out of step with what Americans believe,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in the release. “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.”
In the statement, Jean-Pierre also restated President Joe Biden’s support alongside Democrats toward “restoring the protections” the Supreme Court struck down when it issued Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June, overturning its previous 1973 ruling in Roe vs. Wade.
Graham held a press conference introducing the legislation alongside anti-abortion leaders, including Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America (formerly known as the Susan B. Anthony List) organization. He stated his expectation that the ban will be enacted if Republicans gain a controlling majority in both chambers of Congress.
“If we take back the House and the Senate, I can assure you we’ll have a vote,” Graham said. “If the Democrats are in charge, I don’t know if we’ll ever have a vote.”
In May, Senate Republicans blocked legislation proposed by Democrats that would have codified protections for abortion rights, which were previously upheld by Roe vs. Wade.
National polling not only shows most Americans support the right to an abortion, but that support has increased since the Dobbs v. Jackson decision. A Wall Street Journal poll conducted between . 17-25 found that 60% of respondents believed that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, an increase from 55% found in a poll was conducted in March.
Several Republican candidates for Congress have previously expressed opposition to abortion rights, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters.
Since the Dobbs v. Jackson decision and increased public support for abortion rights, some Republicans have attempted to retreat from that opposition. When campaigning for the Republican nomination, Masters described himself as “100%” against abortion from the moment of conception, but since winning his party’s nomination, he has distanced himself from that position.
In Nov. 2021, Rubio’s campaign website described the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade as “erroneous,” but the page with that statement is no longer available and now there are no pages on Rubio’s site related to his position on abortion rights or the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
In June, President Biden described the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision as a “sad day for the court and the country,” adding, “with Roe gone, let’s be very clear, the health and life of women across this nation are now at risk.”
He has since issued an executive order to protect access to abortion, including support for patients traveling out to state for medical care. Simultaneously, the Department of Justice is suing the state of Idaho to prevent a “trigger ban” law that would enact a near-total ban on abortion if it went into effect.
Referring to the fall midterm elections, Biden has also said that “Roe is on the ballot” and urged voters to support Democratic candidates who would restore abortion rights.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.