Telling reporters at a press conference on Tuesday, September 13, that he is responding to the abortion-on-demand bill introduce by liberals in Congress, Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C, introduced a new bill titled Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act that prohibits abortion after 15 weeks gestation, with certain exceptions.
The bill’s lead co-sponsor in the House of Representatives is Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., an absolute pro-life stalwart in Congress, and he is joined by 80 other members of the House.
“Working closely with the preeminent pro-life groups in the country, we are today introducing legislation to ban abortion at a time when unborn children can feel pain,” Sen. Graham told reporters. “Our legislation, which bans abortion after 15 weeks gestation, will put the United States abortion policy in line with other developed nations such as France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, and other European nations.”
Sen. Graham was joined and supported at the press conference by several heads of national pro-life organizations, including: Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America; Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of Americans United for Life; Star Parker, founder and president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education; Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America: Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life; and Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee.
The bill allows states to be more protective of the pre-born than the federal 15-week prohibition, as many have done before and since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs decision in June. It simply sets a minimum federal floor of protection at 15 weeks gestation, a point at which preborn babies can feel pain. And as Graham pointed out, preborn babies are routinely given pain medication during fetal surgery at that gestational age.
The March for Life tweeted its support for the Graham bill:
“Limiting abortions after 15 weeks is the least we can do to protect women, as well as babies who at this stage are already fully formed in their mother’s womb and can feel pain.”
“It is consistent with what we know from science about the harm of late abortion, as well as in line with where Americans stand on the issue. After all, 90% of Americans reject the view that abortion should be legal up until birth.”
“Politicians voting against this bill will stand against science and against the American public. March for Life challenges all elected officials to come together to pass this compassionate bill …”
It’s unclear whether Graham’s bill will get a vote in the Senate or the House prior to the November election. The bill was heavily criticized by Democrats in both the Senate and the House, and even some Some Republicans, who see abortion as a state issue, were less than enthusiastic, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
“I think most of the members of my conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level,” McConnell told reporters.
Abortion supporters were predictably opposed to the bill and responded with hyperbolic claims about the bill.
“Anti-abortion rights politicians aren’t hiding the ball: They want to ban abortion nationwide,” said Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes. “This once-hypothetical nightmare is now here. Who we elect this November will determine our right to an abortion and whether Congress can pass a nationwide abortion ban.”
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., tweeted, “Senate Republicans’ national abortion ban makes absolutely clear they don’t care what you want or where you live, they think they know best when it comes to your health care decisions. This is chilling—I’ll be fighting back at every step.”
Of course, Graham’s bill does not ban abortions nationwide, but merely sets a wholly reasonable limit beyond which pro-abortion states cannot go in permitting abortions.
How many abortions would the bill prevent? Graham suggested that approximately 55,000 abortions are performed at 15 weeks or later in the United States on a yearly basis.
Graham’s bill contains exceptions for rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother.
The pro-abortion bill referred to by Graham currently before Congress is known as the Women’s Health Protection Act. It would sweep away all existing state laws protecting women and preborn babies and enshrine abortion-on-demand into federal law for all nine months of pregnancy.
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