Graham stated that the legislation’s restriction on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy will bring American abortion laws into step with those of other developed countries such as France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, and other European countries. Without a federal abortion ban, Graham and representatives of several anti and women’s organizations have repeatedly claimed that the United States would resemble North Korea, China, Iran, and Syria, which, in his words, allow “abortion on demand.” Graham’s fellow Republicans, who appeared to be deeply divided on Tuesday over whether to enact federal abortion restrictions, may or may not back Graham, but it is far from clear whether they do.
Graham’s proposal would need 60 votes to move forward in the Senate, leaving the conservative from South Carolina well short of the support needed for approval in the current body. Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, a member of the GOP, introduced a similar bill in the House. Multiple Democratic efforts to establish a right to an abortion and safeguard medical professionals who perform the operation have been thwarted in recent months by Senate Republicans.
At the press conference on Tuesday, Graham said, “I wish we get to debate about it and vote on it.” Graham was flanked by supporters of the right to an abortion. But Mitch McConnell, the minority leader in the Senate, who’d already earlier indicated at the possibility of a federal ban on abortion, appeared to eliminate any hope of a debate on Graham’s proposal.
This new proposal from Graham also marks a departure from recent remarks in which he, too, said abortion was an issue best left to the states. After the Democrats introduced a bill to describe who they are, I thought it would be wonderful to introduce a bill to define who we (Republicans) are, Graham said in defense of his shift in stance on Tuesday.
While other opponents of abortion rights said they supported Graham’s idea, they felt it didn’t go far enough.
Following the Dobbs decision, Democrats, buoyed by a re-energized base and unexpected election victories, seized on the Graham legislation as proof that Republicans are advancing what they claim are radical policies that will restrict Americans’ rights, including those related to abortion, gay marriage, and other issues. Their candidates are making this claim on the campaign trail.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer stated that proposals like the one being considered today “send a clear message from MAGA Republicans to women around the country: your body, our decision.” Republicans are squirming in a pretzel while attempting to explain their stance on abortion.
We don’t need any more male politicians telling women what they can and can’t do with their own bodies, tweeted Sen. Catherine .one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the upcoming midterm elections.
Graham’s idea, according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, is “wildly out of step with what Americans believe.”