“I think we should have a law at the federal level that would say that after 15 weeks, no abortion on demand,” the South Carolina senator said at a news conference to discuss the bill, which would indeed ban abortion nationwide after 15 weeks gestation, a far cry from the “late-term abortion” ban Graham is publicly marketing.
Graham wants to overrule the right of states to set their own abortion laws despite having said on several occasions that abortion should be dictated by states, not the federal government. “I think states should decide the issue of marriage and states should decide the issue of abortion,” the South Carolina senator told CNN last month.
Graham also tweeted in May that if “the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, which I believe was one of the largest power grabs in the history of the Court, it means that every state will decide if abortion is legal and on what terms.”
When asked on Tuesday about Republicans who believe the issue should be left to the states, Graham reportedly said, “That’s great. That’s their position. That’s a sound position. That’s not my position.”
Graham and Republicans lauded the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade a month later, arguing that abortion rights should be left to individual states. It took less than three months for Graham to take the lead in proposing a federal ban.
Public backlash to the overturn of Roe and the subsequent flood of state-level measures restricting abortion access have worried Republican leadership. In August, voters in Kansas rejected a ballot initiative that would have amended the state constitution to allow the implementation of new restrictions on abortion. Additionally, voter registration among women has surged in the aftermath of the Roe decision.
“Republicans have been hiding from their record on this issue since the day Kansans rejected the GOP’s extremist abortion ban by overwhelming numbers,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju told Rolling Stone in a statement. “They know how unpopular their stance is. All today’s bill does is confirm that no matter how much they try to hide from their own agenda, what they want is clear: to end abortion in every state, everywhere.”
The Senate, which returned from its summer recess this week, plans to vote on a bill that would guarantee the right to marriage regardless of the sex and gender of the couple. The bill is an effort to codify rights currently only guaranteed by Supreme Court decisions, following comments from Justice Clarence Thomas indicating that the court should reconsider previous rulings that used the “right to privacy” to establish the right to contraception, same-sex marriage, and protections for same-sex relationships.
Graham and a coalition of anti-abortion organizations announce the introduction of the bill on Tuesday. It was reported not long after that a group of House Republicans were introducing a similar measure to ban abortion after 15 weeks.