Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced a bill to ban abortions in all states after 15 weeks of pregnancy
The South Carolina Senator introduced the law less than three months after Supreme Court Justice Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion. The measure would drastically limit access to abortion in numerous states, particularly blue states, which tend to have more abortion rights.
“I think we should have a law at the federal level that says after 15 weeks, on-demand abortion isn’t allowed except in cases of rape, incest, [or] to save the life of the mother,” Graham said in a statement, press conference at which she, along with anti-abortion leaders, unveiled the Legislation Protecting Painful Unborn Children Against Late Abortion.
“That’s where we should be as Americans. Graham argued that a baby at 15 weeks’ gestation has “well-developed” nerve endings that allow them to feel pain. Graham said if a child is born prematurely at around 15 weeks, doctors may give him an anesthetic to save his life.
It comes ahead of the crucial midterm elections in November, which have cast doubt on expectations of a Republican defeat as evidence mounts that Roe’s reversal has roiled Democratic voters. Abortion rights advocates have warned that a GOP takeover of Congress would erode women’s rights, and many were quick to hold Graham’s bill as a prime example.
“Are you ready for a nationwide abortion ban? Vote Republican and you get it,” progressive activist David Hogg tweeted Tuesday morning. The 15-week boundary precedes the fetal viability point, which is generally estimated to be around 24 weeks gestation.
The Supreme Court ruled in Roe that women have the right to an abortion before it becomes viable, and after that point, states can begin to impose restrictions. In the June judgment of Dobbs v.Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court reversed Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, another case in which abortion rights were upheld, 5-4. A ruling by a court that had become far more conservative after nominating three of former President Donald Trump’s nominees gave individual states the power to set their abortion policies.
Numerous Republican-leaning states have immediately moved to outright bans on abortion, while many Democratic leaders have attempted to enshrine safeguards for the procedure.
Graham, a close Trump ally, had previously expressed his support for states passing their own abortion laws. “This is, in my opinion, the most constitutionally sound way to address this issue and the way the United States handled the issue up until 1973,” Graham tweeted in May.