‘At 15 weeks, a baby sucks his thumb’: Graham defends his abortion ban bill

‘At 15 weeks, a baby sucks his thumb’: Lindsey Graham defends his abortion ban bill and insists it isn’t state rights – despite opposition from his own party

  • Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham defended his decision to introduce a bill in the Senate that would create a nationwide abortion ban at 15 weeks of pregnancy 
  • ‘This is not a state’s right issue. This is a human right issue. At 15 weeks, a baby sucks his thumb,’ Graham said Tuesday on Fox & Friends 
  • A number of Graham’s Republican colleagues have argued that the abortion issue should be decided at the state-level 

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham defended his decision to introduce a bill in the Senate that would create a nationwide abortion ban at 15 weeks of pregnancy.  

‘This is not a state’s right issue. This is a human right issue. At 15 weeks, a baby sucks his thumb,’ Graham said Tuesday on Fox & Friends. 

A number of Graham’s Republican colleagues have argued that the abortion issue should be decided at the state-level, after the conservative-leaning Supreme Court decided in June to do away with 50 years of precedent by overturning Roe v. Wade. 

Democrats, on the other hand, have pushed to have Roe codified by Congress, but don’t have enough votes to override a GOP-led filibuster in the Senate. 

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham defended his decision on Fox & Friends Tuesday to introduce a bill in the Senate that would create a nationwide abortion ban at 15 weeks of pregnancy

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham defended his decision on Fox & Friends Tuesday to introduce a bill in the Senate that would create a nationwide abortion ban at 15 weeks of pregnancy

A number of Graham's Republican colleagues have argued that the abortion issue should be decided at the state-level, as the issue could derail predicted GOP House and Senate gains in the November midterms, as abortion-rights activists are motivated (pictured)

A number of Graham’s Republican colleagues have argued that the abortion issue should be decided at the state-level, as the issue could derail predicted GOP House and Senate gains in the November midterms, as abortion-rights activists are motivated (pictured)

‘To the Republican Party, I am proudly pro-life,’ the South Carolina senator said. ‘There is no shame in being pro-life. The shame here is to have policies in America, like China and North Korea. And I will fight with my last breath to keep this country from being a nation that would abort a baby up to the moment of birth.’ 

‘And every Democratic senator voted for that proposition,’ Graham added. 

Graham – who’s not on the ballot this year – said his position ‘is 15 weeks’ with ‘exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother, and states can do more if they want to up to 15 weeks’ – meaning that states that chose to ban abortion before 15 weeks could keep those laws in place. 

Blue states that have preserved abortion rights would be made to modify their laws if Graham’s bill passed. 

‘I don’t care what California does on most things. I care here,’ Graham said. ‘I am not going to sit on the sidelines in Washington, D.C., and tell the pro-life community, Washington is closed for business. I want – 47 to 50 European nations ban abortion at below 15 weeks.’ 

‘So, no matter what California and Maryland will do, these are human beings in development,’ Graham continued. ‘I am going to advocate a national minimum standard.’ 

Graham’s legislation was not greeted with open arms by the leader of his party, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying that there wasn’t an appetite to vote on it. 

‘I think most of the members of my conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level,’ McConnell said last week. 

During Tuesday’s Fox & Friends, host Brian Kilmeade pointed out that McConnell didn’t want Graham to pursue the legislation. 

‘The pro-life community wants me to do it, and I’m going to do it,’ Graham responded. 

‘And let me tell you why I think Mitch is wrong. He’s pro-life. So, let’s talk about a broken border. Let’s talk about rampant crime. Let’s talk about out-of-control inflation. Let’s talk about failing foreign policy and withdrawal from Afghanistan. But when you’re on the stump, people need to know who you are and where you are,’ Graham said. ‘So, what would I do if I were running? I’ve won four times. I would look the camera in the eye and say that opponent supports aborting a baby up to the moment of birth with taxpayer dollars.’ 

Graham said he’d tell voters that he rejects that. ‘We’re on the wrong track everywhere,’ he said he would tell potential supporters. ‘Now we’re going to be on the wrong track on abortion.’

Recent election outcomes show there’s more support for protecting abortion rights than further restricting pregnancy terminations. 

In Kansas, a red state, voters chose to leave the state constitution alone, keeping abortion legal. 

In an important swing district in New York, Democrat Pat Ryan beat Republican Marc Molinaro in a special election last month. 

Ryan focused his campaign messaging on protecting a woman’s right to choose. 

Republicans had been hoping to flip both the U.S. House and Senate in the November midterms, but the latter looks more difficult in part because of the abortion issue. 

A Wall Street Journal poll found that support for abortion rights grew by 5 percent between March and August. 

The survey, released in early September, found that 60 percent of voters said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, up from 55 percent earlier this year.  

In a FiveThirtyEight.com analysis of how Graham’s proposal is impacting Senate races, supporting the 15-week ban looks to be dicey politics for GOP Senate hopefuls because it’s not motivating the GOP base and could, instead, inspire Democrats to come out in November. 

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