Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

For the first time in years, Sen. Graham hasn’t introduced a national abortion ban

By 37ci3 Feb27,2024



WASHINGTON – South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has spent much of the past decade as a leading proponent of a federal abortion ban.

In each of the last five full sessions of Congress dating back to 2013, he has proposed legislation to ban 20-week abortions. The Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. After overturning the Wade case, he triumphantly announced a new bill banning abortion at 15 weeks. annoys some colleagues By doing so less than two months before the 2022 midterm elections.

But Democrats overturned voters in November and in states across the country without exception, they come down on the side that protects access to abortion since then Graham has done something interesting: he has yet to propose legislation.

Not since 2013 has he waited so long in Congress to introduce a national abortion ban bill. When asked about the decision, he declined.

“I never thought about it,” Graham said in a brief interview in December.

“I will eventually do it next year,” added Graham, who argued that the Senate should first pass negotiations on immigration and Ukraine aid.

Months later, the Senate is still mired in these negotiations. As he told NBC News last week, there has been no comment from Graham on the abortion legislation. The office of Rep. Christopher Smith, who has regularly championed the bill in the House, did not respond to RNJ. Neither did representatives of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, one of the anti-abortion advocacy groups that has repeatedly supported the bill.

It’s a sharp departure for one of the staunchest allies of the anti-abortion rights movement. While Graham has publicly tried to play down the decision, it’s symbolic of a strategic shift by the GOP, which appears to be regrouping in a new political landscape — freer to restrict access to abortion than it has been in decades thanks to a 2022 Supreme Court decision. overturns Roe, but it risks facing an even greater voter backlash.

Sen. Mike Brown, R-Ind., who approved Graham’s 20-week ban in 2021, suggested Monday that it doesn’t make sense to bring it up again in Congress. “I think the main victory was getting it out of the Supreme Court and back to the states. So I don’t know what it does for me. It’s not going to pass anyway, is it? “I don’t think we’re going to get 60 senators, so I think we have to take what we get from the courts,” Brown said.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, announced that “it will be elected legislatures, and mostly state legislatures, that set the Supreme Court’s abortion laws,” and criticized “Democratic consultants who get all the money.” scares the voters.”

But at the same time, he hinted that Congress could consider future “protectors at the outer edges.”

As the Republican Party grapples with the issue, some prominent Senate candidates are backtracking on past statements on abortion rights. now they say they won’t support bans after praising abortion restrictions in the past.

Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sam Brown announced last week he would not support a federal ban on abortion, citing his wife Amy’s experience of having a premarital abortion. He has previously indicated his support for abortion restrictions in previous proposals.

“We must lead with compassion. And this is not just a matter of politics,” Brown said in an exclusive interview. “We are talking about people’s lives. I would like the conversation to take this into account more.”

The Supreme Court’s 2022 decision was the culmination of decades of work by the anti-abortion rights movement, a major victory for a major part of the Republican base that bolstered new state and federal legislation.

Graham doubled down on his federal ban by refilling it months later, reducing the cap from 20 weeks to 15 weeks and costing him more than 30 sponsorships in the process. (The bill included exceptions for women’s lives and victims of rape and consanguinity.)

She announced last fall with many prominent conservatives and anti-abortion advocates, including Susan B. Anthony List, but no legislators stood by her.

The proposal immediately divided Republicans just weeks before Election Day. With Democrats holding Congress and the White House and Republicans spending months, many questioned the wisdom of announcing the bill. moved away from the federal abortion banargues that the decision should be left to individual state legislatures.

After the success of the Democrats in the midterm elections, many Republicans decided it was time to go back to the drawing board. NBC News reported last year that top Senate leaders presented their members with a proposal for a vote Get rid of the “pro-life” moniker It has dominated their movement for decades because the term doesn’t resonate with voters. Even Roe v. Former President Donald Trump, who nominated half of the justices who voted to overturn Wade, argued that Republicans solved the issue “weakly”. (Trump also wanted to deflect blame from the poor performance of many of the candidates he personally supports.)

Overturning Roe has again proved difficult for Republican Senate candidates heading into another election year. The Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling that frozen embryos created through in vitro fertilization are “babies,” a ruling that could result in restrictions on IVF treatments, has rattled the GOP.

A bunch high-profile Senate candidates All have distanced themselves from the Alabama ruling in recent days, as Democrats warn the ruling is a preview of new laws and restrictions on reproductive rights. In a memo to Republicans, the National Republican Senatorial Committee said, “In responding to the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision, it is important that our candidates align with the public’s overwhelming support for IVF and fertility treatment.”

But Democrats and abortion rights advocates accuse Republicans of softening their tongues while continuing abortion restrictions.

“I’m not claiming to understand the inner workings of Republican strategists or Republican members of Congress, but I will say this: I think they’ve read enough polls to know how unpopular the federal abortion ban is,” said Christina Reynolds, EMILY’s List’s vice president of communications. president, told NBC News.

“They have not changed their agenda, but they are willing to remain silent until they actually take power,” he said.

Congressional Republicans have continued to push anti-abortion rights messaging bills in the House and have attempted to add abortion restrictions to must-pass legislation, including existing government funding struggles. But because Democrats control the Senate and the White House, none have passed legislation.

House defense authorization of 2023, passed in July, includes an amendment that would prevent the military from paying for abortions, transgender surgery and hormone therapy. But later in the year, a bipartisan group of lawmakers agreed to cut those requirements from the defense spending bill on President Joe Biden’s desk. The legislation passed in the GOP-led House of Representatives with more Democratic support than Republican backers, drawing the ire of conservatives who want their party to hold firm on tying abortion policy changes to a bill that must pass.

The House Life Act, which “declares that the constitutional right to life is granted to every human being at every stage of life, including at conception,” has the support of 125 Republican members of Congress, including the House. Louisiana Speaker Mike Johnson. He did not vote this year.

In a statement to NBC News, Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said Republicans are “trying to fly under the radar by hiding their true intentions under misleading bill names and trying to force their dangerous agenda through government funding bills that must be passed.” .”

Not all Republicans on Capitol Hill are happy with the high-profile approach. Senator Tommy TubervilleR-Ala., fueled outrage — some from within his own party — by prevents hundreds of military advances within months a Ministry of Defense policy pays military personnel travel expenses related to abortion.

Tuberville, in his first term, finally caught on when the Republican leadership began openly resenting him for blocking the abortion debate on Capitol Hill.

The issue has been hotly debated in the GOP presidential race, where Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ state’s six-week ban has championed Trump. He supported a 16-week federal ban and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley criticized her Republican rivals for not being empathetic enough on the issue.

Democrats aren’t buying the change, which they say is strictly rhetorical.

“They’re making a crude political decision and hoping that voters won’t remember their record, won’t remember their agenda, and won’t associate them with the party that got us all the way here. And I don’t think it’s going to work,” Reynolds said.



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