Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is expected to push for a vote today on a federal ban on abortion at 20 weeks. The bill, S. 1670, has no Democratic sponsors, but 41 Republican Senators have already pledged support of the bill and the Republican National Committee recently released a resolution in support of a 20-week ban. A companion measure passed the House last June.
Several news outlets have noted that Graham’s increased advocacy for the abortion ban coincides with the one-year anniversary of the murder conviction of Kermit Gosnell, a rogue doctor who performed illegal abortions in Pennsylvania. Graham’s abortion ban, however, would do nothing to protect women. Instead, a 20-week abortion ban undermines women’s health and safety and prohibits safe abortion care to women whose pregnancies go wrong. The proposed ban does not contain an exception for fetal anomalies, and contains only a narrow health exception for women. The ban would also interfere with the ability of a woman to choose abortion before fetal viability – usually after 20 weeks – in direct conflict with Roe v. Wade.
Senator Graham, who is up for re-election, is also facing a primary challenge in South Carolina, spurring some to believe that his push is motivated by a desire to appeal to certain voters before the June 10 contest.
Media Resources: RH Reality Check 5/13/14; Salon 5/13/14; ABC News 5/9/14; Politico 5/8/14; Congress.gov; Feminist Newswire 6/19/13