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Republicans Introduce Bill To Ban Abortion Nationwide After 15 Weeks


WASHINGTON ― Republicans on Tuesday introduced laws to ban abortion nationwide after 15 weeks of a pregnancy, their next play on the hot-button issue after the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade and overturned federal abortion rights.

Democrats have been warning voters that Republicans will attempt to ban abortions across the country in the event that they win back control of Congress, and Tuesday’s announcement will likely turn into a serious talking point for the party with Election Day lower than two months away.

The GOP bill is known as the “Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act.” It’s being introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.).

Graham has introduced a version of the bill in every Congress over the past decade, only with an extended 20-week limit. The bill comprises exceptions for situations involving rape, incest and cases where the lifetime of the mother is threatened.

A traditional pregnancy is 40 weeks. Fifteen weeks is barely into the second trimester, despite the bill’s framing as a “late-term” restriction on abortion.

The measure has no likelihood of passing in a Democratic-controlled Senate and with a Democrat within the White House, nevertheless it does signal where Republicans might go in the event that they regain control of each branches of presidency.

“Abortion isn’t banned in America,” Graham said Tuesday. “It’s left as much as elected officials to define the difficulty. You’ve gotten states and the flexibility to do it on the state level. And we’ve the flexibility in Washington to talk on this issue if we elect. I actually have chosen to talk.”

Most abortions are actually illegal or heavily restricted in no less than 12 states, with more states expected to follow. Some have banned abortion outright, while others have restricted abortions to 6 weeks or 15 weeks. Graham’s bill would allow states to maintain more restrictive laws on the books.

Senate Republicans appeared divided on the laws on Tuesday. Some welcomed its introduction, while others maintained that the difficulty ought to be left as much as the states.

“Many of the members in my conference prefer this be handled on the state level,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters at a weekly press conference that was focused on the economy.

“I, for one, need to give attention to the inflation numbers that got here out today,” said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), pointing to the newest consumer price index data. “That’s what persons are talking about.”

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), who supports a 15-week abortion ban, said Tuesday’s bill would likely help to prove GOP voters in November’s midterm elections.

“This probably helps gin up our base just a little bit,” Cramer said.

After the Supreme Court revoked a constitutional right to abortion in June, many Republicans sought to downplay the matter by insisting they simply believed the difficulty ought to be left as much as the states. Graham was one in every of them.

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is an extended overdue constitutional correction allowing for elected officials within the states to determine problems with life,” Graham tweeted after the Supreme Court ruling on abortion.

Last month, Graham reiterated that position, saying that each same-sex marriage and abortion should each be left as much as the states.

“I’ve been consistent. I believe states should resolve … the difficulty of abortion,” Graham said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Asked Tuesday about his reversal on the matter, Graham said that Democratic laws to codify abortion rights prompted him to introduce his bill. However the Democratic proposal, titled the Women’s Health Protection Act, was introduced in Congress last 12 months, long before the Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights.

Democrats this week accused Graham, and other Republicans who echoed the “states’ rights” claims following the Supreme Court decision on abortion, of lying.

“For the hard right, this has never been about states’ rights,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a floor speech on Tuesday. “This has all the time been about making abortion illegal.”

President Joe Biden also warned of the implications if Republicans retake control of Congress. The GOP is favored to win the House in November’s midterms, and so they stand a very good likelihood of retaking the Senate, too.

“If we lose this off-year election, you’re going to have an effort to codify the Supreme Court decision” on restricting abortion, Biden said at a fundraiser in Boston on Monday.

“In the event that they try this, so long as I’m president, I’d veto that,” Biden said. “But we wish to codify Roe. That’s a big issue.”

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