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Graham Proposes 15-Week Abortion Ban, Looking for to Unite Republicans

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WASHINGTON — Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina introduced laws on Tuesday that might institute a federal ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, moving to unite the Republican Party behind a position before midterm elections during which abortion rights have turn into a potent issue.

There isn’t any probability that Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of Recent York and the bulk leader, would allow such a bill to receive a vote on the ground. But Mr. Graham’s proposal was an effort to politically insulate Republicans from voter backlash after the Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to abortion in June.

It was a stark reversal from just weeks ago, when top Republicans including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, signaled that they were unlikely to pursue a nationwide abortion ban after the court’s decision.

Within the weeks since, the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has galvanized Democrats on one of the charged issues in American politics and underscored for Republicans the political risks of their longstanding opposition to abortion rights.

Mr. Graham’s bill, which might prohibit doctors from performing abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, was an effort to strike a balance between essentially the most conservative Republicans who need to sharply restrict access to abortions or ban them outright and others within the party who need to impose more modest limits.

With the primaries winding down, each parties are beginning to shift their focus to the overall election on Nov. 8.

Mr. Graham’s proposal would depart in place state laws with stricter abortion restrictions.

A recent Pew Research Center poll showed that 61 percent of American adults say abortion must be legal in all or most cases, although the identical poll also showed that the partisan divide on the problem has grown over the past 20 years.

Moving quickly after the Supreme Court’s ruling, at the least 12 Republican-led states have put into place severely restrictive laws that go much further than Mr. Graham’s proposal, allowing no exceptions even for rape or incest. Mr. Graham’s plan would allow for those exceptions. In Oklahoma and Texas, Republicans have enacted laws prohibiting abortions after six weeks of pregnancy — when many ladies don’t yet know that they’re pregnant.

There was a backlash, even in essentially the most conservative states, to such restrictions. After a flood of girls registered to vote in deeply conservative Kansas after the Supreme Court decision, as an example, the state rejected a proposal to remove the proper to abortion from its structure

In attempting to balance his party’s competing factions, Mr. Graham risked angering each — and giving Democrats a recent opening to color Republicans as extremists. While his bill is less restrictive than a few of the most hard-line abortion bans, it might restrict the procedure in Democratic-led states that also have laws protecting access.

Mr. Graham called it a “late-term” abortion ban, but that could be a term normally reserved for abortions after late within the second trimester, or about 20 weeks of pregnancy.

How Times reporters cover politics. We depend on our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staff members may vote, they usually are not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money to, or raising money for, any political candidate or election cause.

And it signaled that if Republicans regained control of the Senate in November, they might pursue the sort of national ban that Mr. McConnell and others have said was unlikely.

On Tuesday, Mr. Schumer drew attention to Mr. Graham’s proposal from the Senate floor, calling it a “radical bill to institute a nationwide ban on abortions.” He said that “for the hard right, this has never been about states’ rights. This has all the time been about making abortion illegal.”

Mr. Schumer added, “Republicans are twisting themselves into pretzels trying to elucidate why they need nationwide abortion bans once they said they’d leave it as much as the states.”

In June, Mr. Graham said during an appearance on Fox News that abortion laws must be decided by states.

“All of us within the conservative world have believed that there’s nothing within the Structure giving the federal government the proper to manage abortion,” he told Fox News host Martha MacCallum.

The bill is a more stringent version of laws that Mr. Graham has introduced previously, which might have banned abortions after 20 weeks.

“I don’t imagine abortion, five months into pregnancy, makes us a greater nation,” he said last yr when introducing that bill.

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