Graham’s proposal for a nationwide abortion ban after 15 weeks divides Republican opinions

Photo of Senator Lindsey Graham provided by The New York Times

Tori MillerNews Editor

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina proposed a bill earlier this week that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, following the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade in June. 

Graham’s proposal, which provides exceptions for abortions only required to protect the life of the mother and if someone becomes pregnant due to rape or incest, would leave state laws in place but with stricter restrictions and the ability to outlaw many abortions that are currently legal.

“Abortion is a contentious issue,” Graham said to The Washington Post. “Abortion is not banned in America. It is left up to elected officials in America to define the issue … States have the ability to do [so] at the state level, and we have the ability in Washington to speak on this issue if we choose. I have chosen to speak.”

According to the New York Times, A recent Pew Research Center poll showed that 61% of American adults say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, although the same poll also showed that the partisan divide on the issue has grown over the past two decades.

With midterm elections on the horizon, many Republicans were hesitant to voice their opinions on Graham’s plan. 

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, who is currently in a tight reelection race, refused to directly answer when asked if he agrees with Graham’s bill. Johnson said abortion laws should be decided by “we the people” in the 50 states. 

Following Johnson, Texas Senator John Cornyn had a different opinion of Graham’s proposal. 

“I think there are going to be some differences of opinion,” Cornyn said to CNN. “My preference is to have each state handle those issues.”

While there has been pushback against Graham’s bill, other Republicans are in favor of more restrictive abortion laws. 

South Dakota Senator John Thune, the GOP Whip, sided with the new legislation, saying it will give GOP candidates a “place to land” as they get hammered by Democrats on the issue. He said most Republicans favor abortion restrictions, not an outright ban. Thune told CNN he supported the 15-week ban.

“I would expect there would be pretty good support for that among, you know, pro-life Republicans and maybe some pro-life Democrats,” Thune said.

If Republicans regain control of the Senate in November, Graham’s plan has a higher chance of being embraced. In a Democrat-controlled Senate, there is an extremely low possibility the bill will be considered. 

“If we take back the House and the Senate, I can assure you we’ll have a vote on our bill,” Graham said to The New York Times. “If the Democrats are in charge, I don’t know if we’ll ever have a vote on our bill.”

For more information:

(CNN): Graham proposes 15-week abortion bill, dividing Republicans ahead of midterm elections | CNN Politics
(The New York Times): Graham Proposes 15-Week Abortion Ban, Splitting Republicans – The New York Times
(The Washington Post): Graham introduces bill to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks – The Washington Post

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