Lindsey Graham to Make Renewed Push for 20-Week Abortion Ban in Senate

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is expected to try to force a vote Tuesday on legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks nationwide, but Senate Democrats are unlikely to let Graham’s attempt move forward.

The bill, HR 1797, passed the U.S. House in June, and Graham introduced a companion bill in the Senate in November amid speculation that he was trying to bolster his credibility with anti-choice voters in a tough primary fight.

Graham told Politico that he plans to ask Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to consider bringing up both the 20-week ban and the Women’s Health Protection Act, a pro-choice bill sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) that would prevent state legislatures from unfairly targeting abortion providers for no medical reason.

“We have no intention of entertaining that,” a Senate Democratic leadership aide told RH Reality Check. “It doesn’t really matter what they attach it to because we have strong objections to the underlying Graham bill.” The aide said that pro-choice senators will likely be on the floor to object to Graham’s proposal.

Graham is centering his push around the May 13 anniversary of rogue abortion provider Kermit Gosnell‘s murder conviction, in an apparent attempt to conflate killing infants with what he calls “late-term abortion.” But Gosnell’s crimes have nothing to do with the provision of safe, legal abortion care to women whose later pregnancies go wrong. Abortions at or after 20 weeks are rare and often medically necessary, and a fetus is usually not viable outside the womb until at least 24 weeks of pregnancy. Moreover, the Supreme Court has consistently held that bans on abortion before viability, and at a specific point in pregnancy not determined by a doctor, are unconstitutional.

The 20-week ban would allow exceptions to save the life of the pregnant woman or for rape or incest. It also has a health exception that is more narrow than what the Supreme Court has mandated. It does not allow exceptions for fetal anomalies, which are often not detected until after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

“In the midst of a national crisis for reproductive health care, the choice before Congress is clear,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, in a statement. “They must advance federal legislation that would truly defend women’s well-being, safety, and rights, not political attacks that can only worsen the dangerous circumstances that millions of women nationwide now face.”

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  • purrtriarchy

    I like it when john Stewart mocks Lindsay graham by pretending to be a southern belle.

    • Ella Warnock

      Me too.

  • TheBrett

    Their use of Gosnell really pisses me off. Gosnell is another example of why we need better early-term access to abortion for poor women, because his clients were largely poor, desperate women who weren’t otherwise able to afford abortions both earlier in their terms or at better clinics.

  • blfdjlj

    Allow a vote on both bills. That way, everyone will be on the record one way or the other.

  • Rita, Canberra

    I wonder if Nancy Northrup has any concern at all for “federal legislation that would truly defend…well-being, safety, and rights” of the unborn children at risk of abortion? Where is her concern regarding “the dangerous circumstances that millions” of tiny human beings at risk of abortion “nationwide now face”?

    True justice requires that elective abortions be recognized and treated not as idiosyncratic, personal ‘choices’ but as abusive practices, as human rights violations perpetrated by individuals and involving the complicity of politicians and others.

    Both the rights of the mother and her unborn child must be honored and protected. This principle of indivisibility is one of the fundamental principles of modern international human rights law.

    Human rights belong equally to every member of the human family at every stage of development or decline.

    Biology, embryology, fetal surgery, ultrasound technology, and examination of the human remains of an aborted child all tell us that this child, selected to be aborted, is a human being, belonging to human family.

    It is not age or size or independence that confers human rights, it is just being a human. This is the irrevocable legal basis of all human rights.

    • purrtriarchy

      You don’t give a flying fuck about honoring or protecting women since you want to subjugate them to mindless animal organisms.

      And no, abortion is not abusive, it is self defense from an entity that maims and tortures its host.

    • Mummel18000

      Of course it is human. As is the woman who carries that foetus – which gives her the right to decide to go on with the pregnancy or terminate it. Pro lifers are hypocrites.

    • Arekushieru

      Funny, because the only way the rights of both the WOMAN and FETUS can be honoured and protected is if abortion remains legal.

      Human/human being =/= person/human being/a human. And the former is how biology and embryology textbooks use the term. Oops.

      No, it isn’t, but it IS age, size and DEPENDENCE that you believe should grant one group of humans more rights than any other. To put it conversely, if human rights are conferred just by being human, then, according to your logic, you have just declared that for someone to kill their rapist is an act of murder AND that removing a tumour is equivalent to murder. BARF.

    • Ella Warnock

      There’s no such thing as rights for both. Never was.

  • Ella Warnock

    Go home, Miss Graham. You’re drunk.