© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) arrives to attend the Senate Republicans weekly coverage lunch on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 7, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photograph
By David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham proposed new nationwide restrictions on abortion on Tuesday, saying he wished to assist outline Republicans on a difficulty seen as a possible albatross for his social gathering within the Nov. 8 midterm elections.
With management of the Senate up for grabs, and a few jittery Republican candidates softening their positions on abortion, Graham introduced laws that will ban the process after 15 weeks of being pregnant nationwide.
The invoice, which is able to go nowhere within the Democratic-controlled Congress, appeared to strike at a center floor for Republicans, whose positions run the gamut from strict bans to assist for slim entry to abortion providers.
However the transfer carries political dangers. Democrats have been wanting to forged Republicans as excessive on the abortion subject, for the reason that U.S. Supreme Courtroom in June overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide and a few dozen states started imposing abortion bans.
A Reuters/Ipsos ballot carried out Sept. 7-12 confirmed that 63% of respondents mentioned they have been much less prone to again candidates who assist legal guidelines that ban or severely prohibit abortion.
After Roe’s overturn, many Republicans, together with Graham, mentioned abortion coverage ought to be left to the states.
On Tuesday, nevertheless, Graham mentioned he was introducing his invoice as a counter to a measure Democrats pushed unsuccessfully this yr in a bid to codify nationwide abortion rights.
“After they launched a invoice to outline who they’re, I believed it might be good to introduce a invoice to outline who we’re,” Graham, a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, mentioned at a information convention the place he has flanked by 10 anti-abortion leaders, all of them ladies.
“If we take again the Home and the Senate, I can guarantee you we’ll have a vote on our invoice,” Graham added.
Graham’s initiative appeared to run afoul of Senate Republican chief Mitch McConnell, who mentioned he would depart particular person Republican candidates to find out their positions on the abortion subject.
“I feel many of the members of my convention choose that this be handled on the state degree,” McConnell advised reporters, when requested if he would deliver Graham’s invoice to the ground for a vote if Republicans gained the Senate majority in November.
The brand new laws is stricter than measures Graham launched in earlier years that aimed to ban abortions after 20 weeks. The present invoice permits exceptions in instances involving rape, incest or dangers to the mom’s life and well being.
The invoice shortly got here beneath fireplace from Democrats, together with Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, who performed on Graham’s allegiance to Trump by branding it a “MAGA” measure, utilizing the acronym for Trump’s slogan, “Make America Nice Once more.”
“For the laborious proper, this has by no means been about states’ rights,” Schumer mentioned on the Senate ground. “No, for MAGA Republicans, this has at all times been about making abortion unlawful in all places.”
White Home spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre referred to as Graham’s invoice “wildly out of step with what Individuals imagine.”
A majority of U.S. adults say abortion ought to be authorized in all or most instances.
Abortion rights advocates have scored political victories within the aftermath of the Supreme Courtroom determination. Democrat Pat Ryan gained a Home particular election in New York final month after making abortion his high marketing campaign subject, and voters in conservative Kansas overwhelmingly rejected an effort to take away abortion protections from the state’s structure.
Democrats, who’ve been weighed down by inflation and President Joe Biden’s anemic job approval numbers, are hoping voter power across the abortion subject will enable the social gathering to capitalize on Republican weaknesses in some Home of Representatives and Senate races.
Republicans are favored to take management of the Home in November however might have a tougher time regaining the Senate majority, as Trump-endorsed candidates battle in key swing states together with Arizona, Georgia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Some Republican candidates, together with Senate hopeful Blake Masters in Arizona, have gone as far as to vary their marketing campaign web sites to remove hard-line rhetoric on abortion, in line with U.S. media stories.
Republican Senator Kevin Cramer advised reporters on Tuesday that the introduction of a federal ban invoice “fires up our base at a time when their (Democrats’) base may be very fired up.”