Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is introducing a bill that would ban abortion nationwide after 15 weeks. The South Carolina senator’s bill comes less than three months after the devastating overturn of Roe v. Wade.
The bill, titled the ‘‘Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act’,’ would narrow access to abortions across the U.S., even in blue states that have been called safe havens and tend to have more abortion right protections. The only exceptions to the 15-week ban would be in cases of incest, rape, or to “save the life of a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, but not including psychological or emotional conditions.”
In the first two cases, a report of the incident from law enforcement is required. The fact the bill reiterates that only physical medical ailments are an acceptable reason for abortion leaves people seeking abortions who are in life-threatening mental, emotional, and financial states out in the cold.
The phrase “late-term” has many abortion rights scoffing, as 15 weeks falls within the second trimester of pregnancy. Typically, fetal anomalies cannot be detected until the 20-week mark. And some people take longer to realize that they are pregnant, around the 18- to 20-week mark. This bill will also disproportionately affect these groups.
Many Democrats quickly swore to fight the bill. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that “This bill is wildly out of step with what Americans believe. The President and Vice President are fighting for progress, while Republicans are fighting to take us back.”
The move has some Republicans confused, as the repeal of Roe v. Wade was meant to leave the decision in the hands of state governments. Graham’s bill also comes two months before midterms during an election season that has seen a massive increase in public participation due to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. According to The Washington Post, the repeal has spurred more Democratic and independent women registering to vote in key battleground states.
“For anyone who is in a state where abortion is not yet restricted or banned, we especially want to tell those voters, ‘This is everybody’s issue. It could come to your state too if they’re voting against efforts to protect abortion,’ ” said Jacqueline Ayers, senior vice president at Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Planned Parenthood plans to pour $50 million into campaign funds of progressive candidates that support abortion rights in battleground states.