Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday expressed confidence that the public would support his 15-week federal abortion ban proposal but acknowledged it does not have the votes to pass the Senate.
“I’m pro-life, even in an election year,” Graham told “Fox News Sunday” anchor Shannon Bream.
“I am confident the American people would accept a national ban on abortion at 15 weeks,” Graham said. “And to those who suggest that being pro-life is losing politics, I reject that.”
The South Carolina Republican on Tuesday introduced a bill that would prohibit abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy nationwide, carving out exceptions for rape, incest and when the mother’s life is in danger.
The move has attracted criticism from some in his own party, who expressed a desire to leave abortion legislation to states after the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade in June.
Bream asked Graham about comments he made two days after the decision, in which the South Carolina Republican said that Americans should “let every state do it the way they would like” on abortion restrictions.
“Here’s what Dobbs says: elected officials can make the decision, state or federal. I’m not inconsistent,” Graham said when Bream pressed him on his June comments.
Graham called the suggestion he has flipped his position “ridiculous,” noting he has introduced a 20-week abortion ban multiple times in the Senate and other related bills. But he acknowledged that “we will not pass them all” when it comes to abortion bills.
“I will not sit on the sidelines and watch this nation become China when it comes to aborting babies up to the moment of birth,” he said. “I reject that. I will continue to introduce legislation at the national level setting a minimum standard at 15 weeks.”
Despite general agreement among Republican lawmakers on tightening abortion restrictions at the state level, Graham’s proposal has been met with some GOP opposition.
The bill’s introduction comes less than two months before the midterm elections, and Republicans are hoping to flip control of Congress.
Democrats, meanwhile, are hoping the abortion ruling can energize liberal voters in races this fall to maintain their razor-thin majorities.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnnell (R-Ky.) told reporters last week that his caucus is not eager to debate the legislation.
“I think most of the members of my conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level,” McConnell said.
Asked if Graham’s bill is sanctioned by the leadership, Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.) similarly said “no.”