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Democrats Decry Graham’s 15-Week Abortion Ban

Congressional Democrats are decrying a bill unveiled by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that would ban abortion at a federal level after 15 weeks.

Graham on Sept. 13 unveiled the bill, dubbed the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act. The legislation is similar to another bill introduced in the Senate by Graham last year but it would change the prohibition from the previous bill’s 20-week ban to a reduced 15-week ban.

During a press conference on the bill, Graham argued that the legislation, which would target physicians providing banned abortions rather than women seeking them, is necessary to place the United States in line with most of the rest of the developed world. In Europe, Graham noted, 47 of the continent’s 50 countries ban abortion after 12 to 15 weeks of gestation.

Under the terms of the bill, physicians providing banned abortions after the legal threshold would be on the hook for a federal criminal charge carrying a fine and as long as five years in federal prison.

However, the bill would permit exceptions in cases where physicians determine the mother’s life is in danger or for children who are the product of rape or incest.

Predictably, Democrats were quick to decry the bill, coming in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, as an assault on women’s rights.

During a speech on the Senate floor before Graham unveiled the bill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called it a “radical bill to institute a nationwide restriction on abortions,” and made clear that his party opposed the bill.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) echoed the sentiment in a statement, saying Republicans “are gleefully charging ahead with their deadly crusade to punish and control women’s health decisions.”

“We are already seeing the agonizing reality of the radical bans enacted by radical right-wing state legislatures,” Pelosi wrote, continuing, “extreme MAGA Republicans in Congress clearly want to inflict this same suffering on every woman in every state.”

“They know they’re digging a hole,” Pelosi added during a Sept. 14 press conference, opining that the bill would be bad for the GOP’s electoral prospects. “Women are not happy about this.”

During her own Sept. 14 press conference, Assistant Speaker of the House Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) also blasted the bill.

“MAGA Republicans have doubled down on their scorched earth campaign against women and families,” Clark said. “Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced a nationwide abortion ban. The American people do not want politicians in their bedrooms and their doctors’ offices.”

House Democrat Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) took the same approach to the issue during a press conference the same day.

“It’s extreme if your top agenda is a nationwide ban on abortion,” Jeffries said. “Lindsey Graham just introduced the bill. And that bill would … undermine the freedom of women to make their own reproductive health care decisions in other states.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) agreed, lobbing the epithet of “theocrats” at the bill’s proponents.

“Lindsey Graham’s nationwide 15-week abortion ban is a dangerous escalation of the GOP’s plan to destroy women’s health care,” Raskin wrote on Twitter. “We won’t let it pass, but we see what’s coming if the theocrats take over Congress.

“Pro-freedom Americans: stay vigilant,” Raskin added.

The same day, the White House in a statement called the bill “wildly out of step with what Americans believe” and accused Republicans of being “focused on taking rights away from millions of women.”

State-Level Democrats Weigh In

Some state-level Democrats also commented on the bill.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison called the bill “proof of MAGA intentions.”

“My opponent & the whole [Minnesota GOP] ticket have said they’ll strip away your right to abortion & the freedom to control your own body. Lindsay Graham’s [national] abortion ban is more proof of MAGA intentions,” Ellison said in a Sept. 14 tweet. “Not me: I’ll protect your body & freedoms when they attack them. That’s the choice.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who last year survived a statewide effort to recall him from the office, responded to the announcement of the bill by promising the creation of a new website with information about abortion access.

“Make no mistake—Lindsey Graham’s new national ban on abortion is about controlling women,” Newsom said in a Twitter post announcing the launch of the new site. “That’s their agenda.”

“[California’s] fighting back,” he added. “Today, we’re launching a NEW website to provide resources for women to get reproductive care—no matter where they live.”

Charles Booker, Democrats’ nominee for senator who will be squaring up against Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in the longtime red stronghold, also commented.

“As Kentucky’s next Senator, I will never vote for Lindsey Graham’s 15-week nationwide abortion ban,” Booker wrote on Twitter.

In another post, Booker wrote: “Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham want the Government to control your body. I want to codify your human rights into federal law.”

Republicans Worried About Election Effects

Even many Republicans have been lukewarm on Graham’s bill, fearing that it may stoke up Democrats’ base just months before an election.

Currently, Democrats hold both the House and Senate. Though the House is favored by observers to go red, the race for the evenly-split Senate remains nail-bitingly close for both parties.

Republicans have been muted on the bill, which they see as untimely ahead of the tight midterm battle.

Senate Minority Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said as much the day that Graham unveiled the bill, suggesting that Republican senators aren’t keen to take up the issue.

McConnell, following the announcement of the bill, said that it’s not high on his list of priorities if he becomes Senate majority leader next year, saying many Republicans would prefer to leave the issue up to the states.

“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 told reporters, hinting that the push was Graham’s own initiative and not a GOP leadership-backed one.

Graham acknowledged as much, saying he did not consult with the minority leader before unveiling the legislation.

For many GOP nominees in tight races, the bill has caused a headache as the nominees try to balance the demands of keeping in step with their base with the political realities of facing a more moderate electorate in November.

Among Republicans both in the Senate now and those hoping to be a part of it next year, the response has largely been, as McConnell suggested, in favor of leaving the issue to the states.


Joseph Lord is a congressional reporter for The Epoch Times.

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