Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced a nationwide abortion ban for the sixth time on Tuesday. This legislation marks a coherent strategy for Republicans, where they openly admit that they want to subjugate half of America instead of quietly scrubbing abortion from their campaign sites.
Graham’s bill would ban abortion at 15 weeks—which is six to seven weeks before the fetus would be viable outside the womb. “If we take back the House and the Senate I can assure you we’ll have a vote,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
This was, really, more of a warning to the American people than a promise. A recent Wall Street Journal poll found that only 30 percent of voters would support a 15-week abortion ban, while 57 percent oppose. Nearly two-thirds of voters disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and when the question of whether to revoke abortion rights was put to the people of Kansas recently rather than their Republican legislators, they overwhelmingly voted to keep abortion rights in the state constitution.
Graham, also, is a liar: Before Roe fell, like many Republicans, he assured us that he simply wanted to send the issue back to the states to decide.
Here’s what he’s said today, upon introducing an abortion ban that would prevent many states, including Kansas, from being able to decide to keep abortion legal: “Abortion is not banned in America. It’s left up to elected officials to define the issue. You have states and the ability to do it at the state level. And we have the ability in Washington to speak on this issue if we choose. I have chosen to speak.”
He’s simply gaslighting voters.
Graham’s bravado was tempered by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who wouldn’t commit to bringing the bill to the floor. “I think most of the members of my conference prefer that this will be dealt with at the state level,” McConnell said at a press conference.
Even lack of support from his party leader couldn’t sway Graham, who said the “consensus” among anti-abortion groups and activists is that they want this bill (nevermind that most Americans don’t). “I don’t think this is going to hurt us” politically, he told reporters.
Graham’s bill hides behind exceptions that few people will be able to access. The legislation includes exceptions to “save the life of a pregnant women whose life is endangered” by physical factors but not “psychological or emotional conditions.” That means mental health disorders and suicide is not reason to get an abortion under Graham’s legislation. If an abortion patient is raped, in order to get an abortion, they must get counseling or get medical treatment related to the rape. If an incest victim becomes pregnant, the rape must be reported to child welfare agency or law enforcement.
At the end of the press conference, Graham made horrifying prediction. “We stay on this and keep talking about it, maybe less than a decade, this will be law,” he said.
A nationwide abortion ban—like the overturning of Roe v. Wade—is a long game. And they won’t stop at 15 weeks, either.