Lindsey Graham’s Abortion Ban Bill Splits GOP Over Interim Report

Republicans are distancing themselves from Senator Lindsey Graham’s new proposal to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy as Democrats push the bill as proof the GOP seeks to restrict abortion nationwide if it gains control of Congress in the November midterms.

In Graham’s proposal, Democrats see another chance to exploit an issue that seemed to boost their chances of getting at least one house of Congress.

Republican from South Carolina introduced legislation less than three months after the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade, overturning decades of federal protection against abortion and placing abortion at the forefront of the midterm elections.

Graham’s announcement on Tuesday sparked another wave of abortion headlines as Democrats lined up to denounce a bill that would drastically limit access to the procedure in blue states. It diverted attention from the day’s other big headline, a stronger-than-expected inflation report that sent stocks plummeting and was seen as a blow to the Biden administration’s economic recovery claims.

Graham’s approach also ran counter to the strategy adopted by some Republicans, including high-profile racers, following the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization. Many in the Republican Party argued that abortion laws should be enacted by the states, not the federal government.

in Pennsylvania, one of the few states on the battlefield that will determine which party wins the Senate, the new bill prompted Republican Senate nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz to say that if elected, he would not allow the federal government to interfere with statewide abortion rules. But Herschel Walker, the Republican running for Georgia’s seat of incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock in another critical race, said he would support Graham’s law.

In both states, Democratic candidates have used the issue to criticize their Republican rivals.

“Oz should tell us yes or no, would you support this bill?” This was announced on Thursday morning by Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania John Fetterman, a candidate for the Senate from the Democratic Party. “I’ll go first: I’m HELL NO.”

Graham’s actions have baffled even some Republican political pundits. Some media criticized it as unforced error at a pivotal time when the fight for the House of Representatives and the Senate seems to be tightened.

“I don’t know why he did it,” said Jay Williams, a Georgia Republican Party strategist. He suggested that the Republicans’ midterm presentation should focus mainly on the economy, where President Joe Biden received low marks.

“If you win the game, you don’t change strategies,” Williams said. “If we’re talking about something else, I think it’s a bad idea.”

Seth Weathers, Trump’s former Georgia campaign aide and political strategist, said he was “a little apprehensive that the way this is marketed to the public could hurt Republicans in the midterms.”

Julianne Thompson, a political strategist and self-described pro-life Republican, said the economy “is an issue that’s winning for Republicans right now, and one that they should be focusing on.”

This week, the national groups of the Republican Party almost did not support Graham.

The Facebook and Twitter pages of the Congressional Republican National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Republican National Committee have not mentioned or promoted Graham’s bill since its announcement. According to the meta ad library, none of these groups’ Facebook pages ran ads related to the bill.

An RNC-run Twitter account tweeted about abortions without mentioning Graham on Wednesday, when he accused a Democratic couple, Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and Democratic House Representative New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, of refusing to acknowledge any restrictions on the procedure. . The NRSC on Wednesday did the same, tweeting criticism of the stance of Democratic Rep. Val Demings on abortion, who is battling GOP Senator Marco Rubio for his seat in Florida.

Graham attempted to frame his legislation as a response to Democratic proposals to codify abortion protection at the federal level. One such bill, put forward in May in response to the court’s draft decision in the Roe case, failed in the Senate.

“They chose a bill that would not put us in the mainstream of the world, but would put us in a group of seven countries that allow abortion on demand until almost the time of delivery,” Graham said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Graham said his bill, which would ban the procedure at 15 weeks pregnant and include exemptions for rape, incest and saving the mother’s life, would set America’s abortion policy at a level that “pretty much matches the rest of the world.” “

“And this should be where America is,” the senator said.

The plan would keep the state’s stricter abortion laws in place. Rep. Chris Smith, RN.J., introduced a companion bill for the House of Representatives.

While the title of Graham’s bill suggests it would only ban “late” abortions, it would restrict the procedure nationwide after less than four months of pregnancy, a threshold that falls in the second trimester. Abortions are generally considered “late-term” at or after 21 weeks of gestation, according to the nonprofit health policy organization. KFF. But the organization notes that the phrase is not an official medical term, and that abortions at this stage are rarely requested and difficult to obtain.

Graham’s bill has virtually no chance of passing in the current Congress, where Democrats have a slim majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Republicans are hoping to take over both houses in the interim, when the incumbent’s party has historically lagged behind.

But some forecasters now favor the Democrats. keep under control Senate, the shift that was attributed partially to the ruling of the High Court in Dobbs. Republicans prefer take a housealthough the odds have shifted slightly in favor of the Democrats since the decision was made public in late June.

Public opinion The Supreme Court collapsed after Dobbs overturned Rowe by a 5-4 majority, including three justices appointed by former President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, the right to abortion has become a major issue among voters.

BUT Fox News Poll conducted in September and released on Wednesday showed that 57% of voters support legal abortion in all or most cases, up 13 points from May.

The same poll showed that voter resistance to Dobbs’ decision has only grown in the months since it was made public, as respondents’ disapproval outweighed approval by nearly 2 to 1. And the poll showed that among voters who see abortion as a top issue, 56% would support a Democrat in their constituency compared to 27% who would elect a Republican.

Some Republicans, including GOP candidates in major Senate races, backed Graham’s new proposal.

“I have always been pro-life,” Rubio said when asked why he signed on to the bill. He urged journalists to ask Democrats what abortion restrictions they would support, if any.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, Republican No. 2 in the Senate, said he supported the bill. He said CNN that it changes the narrative that Republicans support a total ban on abortion “and gives candidates space for something that reflects their views and doesn’t fit the Democrats’ narrative.”

Pennsylvania Republican political strategist Christopher Nicholas echoed the sentiment, telling CNBC that Graham’s bill was “the first strategic response from us on this issue since the Dobbs decision.”

“It might make the press get [Democrats] recognize that the only acceptable position on their part regarding abortion is abortion on demand,” Nicholas said.

But other senior Republicans either refused to support Graham’s bill or expressed the view that individual states should enact their own abortion laws.

“I think most members of my conference prefer this to be decided at the state level,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who will determine the Republican Party’s abortion program if the party wins Senate control in November, told reporters. Tuesday when asked about Graham’s account.

Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, chairman of the NRSC, did not express support for the bill during an interview on Wednesday with Fox News.

“Well, if you’re traveling around the country, people are focused on the economy, their children’s education, public safety,” Scott said when asked about the legislation. “When it comes to abortion, the Democrats are clearly focused on abortion,” he added.

Asked to comment on the reaction to the bill, Graham’s spokesman Kevin Bishop said Rubio had “joined”.

Republicans have long opposed abortion, and many red states have banned the procedure outright in the wake of Rowe’s refusal. But how polls to show that the majority of Americans do not approve of the court’s decision – and how women reportedly ahead of men in voter registration in key states — many in the Republican Party have struggled to resist Democrats, who have made abortion a major part of their message.

“While abortion won’t be a deciding factor in the midterms, it was an issue that Democrats are raising funds for and using it to get more women registered to vote,” said Thompson, a Republican strategist.

“I am very aware of the fact that my party needs to be better informed on this issue,” she said, along with more women leaders talking about abortion and related issues.

Earlier this week, the NRC recommended that campaigns seek “common ground” for exceptions to the abortion ban and pressure Democrats over their own views. informed Wednesday. The National Party also urged candidates to focus on topics such as crime and the economy, the Post reported.

“The polls must be teaching them something because I don’t hear anything about abortion today,” Rep. Jamie Ruskin, MD, said in the House Wednesday. “What is their position now? America wants to know.”

Some GOP candidates who previously took a hard line on abortion during the GOP primaries softened or muted their views when they compete in the general election. When Graham’s bill brought the issue back to the fore, Democrats lashed out at him.

“Herschel Walker thinks the problem is that our country does not have a national ban on abortion,” Senator Raphael Warnock, Georgia, said of his Republican challenger Tuesday, before releasing a video of Walker. saying the same.

In Pennsylvania, Fetterman scheduled a press conference with OB/GYNs at Philadelphia City Hall to criticize a proposed ban on 15-week abortions. He forced his opponent Oz to answer questions about his position on the bill.

Oz, a Trump-backed celebrity doctor who trails Fetterman in the polls, “is pro-life, with three exceptions: mother’s life, rape and incest,” his spokeswoman Brittany Janick said in a statement.

“And as a senator, he would like to make sure that the federal government is not involved in interfering with state decisions on this issue,” she said.

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