Lindsey Graham’s abortion ban bill baffles some Republicans as Democrats sharpen attacks in key midterm races

Republicans are distancing themselves from Senator Lindsey Graham’s new proposal. Ban most abortions after 15 weeks. About abortion, as Democrats hold up the bill as evidence that the GOP wants to restrict abortions nationwide if it wins control of Congress in November’s midterm elections.

In Graham’s proposal, Democrats see another chance to raise an issue that has increased the chances of holding at least one house of Congress.

Introduced by South Carolina Republicans Legislation Less than three months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, decades-old federal abortion protections were dismantled — and made abortion a top issue in the midterms.

Graham’s announcement on Tuesday sparked a new wave of headlines about abortion, as Democrats line up to denounce a bill that would sharply narrow access to the procedure in blue states. It distracted from the other big headline of the day, which is worse than expected. Inflation Report That Sent stock is sinking And it was seen as a blow to the Biden administration’s claims to revive the economy.

Graham’s approach also contrasted with the strategy adopted by some Republicans, including those in high-profile races, after the high court’s abortion decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Many in the GOP have argued that states, rather than the federal government, should set abortion laws.

In Pennsylvania, One of a handful of battleground states that will determine which party wins the Senate, The new bill prompted Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz to say he would prevent the federal government from interfering with state-level abortion laws if elected. But Herschel Walker is running for Republican Sen. Raphael Warnock’s Georgia seat. In another critical race, He said he would support Graham’s legislation.

In both states, Democratic candidates used the issue to defeat their GOP rivals.

“Oz needs to tell us – yes or no, will you support this bill?” Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the state’s Democratic Senate nominee, said in a statement Thursday morning. “I’ll go first: I’m not a hellion.”

Graham’s move surprised even some Republican political pundits. Some media outlets panned it as Unforced error At a crucial moment when the House and Senate appear to be fighting. tough.

“I don’t know why he did it,” said Georgia-based GOP strategist Jay Williams. He suggested that Republicans’ midterm pitch should focus mostly on the economy, where Pres Joe Biden What is the score? Less approval marks.

“If you’re winning games, you don’t change tactics,” Williams said. “If we’re talking about something else, I think that’s a bad idea.”

Seth Weathers, a former Trump campaign aide and political strategist in Georgia, said he was “a little concerned that the way it’s going to be sold to the public is going to hurt Republicans in the midterms.”

Julianne Thompson, a political strategist and self-described pro-life Republican, said the economy is “the issue that’s winning for Republicans right now and that’s the issue they need to focus on.”

National GOP groups have hardly backed Graham this week.

Facebook And Twitter The National Republican Congressional Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee and Republican National Committee pages have not mentioned or promoted Graham’s bill since it was announced. None of those groups’ Facebook pages have run ads related to the bill, according to MetaAd Library.

An RNC-run Twitter account tweeted about abortion without mentioning Graham on Wednesday, when it called a pair of Democrats, Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams and New York’s House Democratic caucus chair. Accused Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of refusing to recognize any limits. Procedure The NRSC did just that Wednesday by criticizing the abortion stance of Democratic Rep. Val Demings, who is challenging GOP Sen. Marco Rubio for his seat in Florida.

Graham sought to introduce his legislation as a response to Democrat-led proposals to enact abortion protections at the federal level. One such bill, introduced in May in response to a draft of the court’s ruling on Roe, Failed in the Senate.

“They chose a bill that would not put us in the mainstream of the world but put us in the group of seven countries that allow abortion up until birth,” Graham said at a press conference Tuesday. “

Graham said his bill, which bans the procedure at 15 weeks of pregnancy and includes exceptions for rape, adultery and saving the mother’s life, would set America’s abortion policy at that level. Ga which is “quite compatible with the rest of the world.”

“And that should be where America is,” the senator said.

The plan would leave the state’s strict abortion laws in place. Representative Chris Smith, RN.J. has introduced a companion bill to the House.

Although the title of Graham’s bill suggests that it would only ban “late-term” abortions, it would limit the procedure nationwide to less than four months of pregnancy, a limit that extends to the second trimester. I come Abortions at or after 21 weeks of pregnancy are generally considered “late term,” according to the nonprofit’s health policy. KFF. But the organization notes that the phrase is not an official medical term, and abortions at this stage are rarely sought and difficult to obtain.

Graham’s bill has virtually no chance of passing the current Congress, where Democrats hold slim majorities in the House and Senate. Republicans hope to capture both chambers in the midterms, when the incumbent’s party has historically underperformed.

But some prognosticators are now backing Democrats. To keep control of the Senate, a change which has been made Attributed in part On the decision of the High Court in Dobbs. Republicans are in favor. Take the housethough the odds have shifted slightly toward Democrats since the decision came out in late June.

People’s opinions The high court sank after Dobbs, which overturned Roe in a 5-4 vote by a majority that included three judges appointed by the former president. Donald Trump. Meanwhile, abortion rights have emerged as a top issue among voters.

Oh Fox News Poll The poll, conducted in September and released Wednesday, found that 57% of voters support legal abortion in all or most cases, a 13-point jump from May.

The same survey found that voter opposition to the Dobbs decision has only grown in the months since it came out, as respondents’ disapproval outnumbered approval by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. And the survey found that among voters who see abortion as a top concern, 56% would support a Democrat in their House district, compared with 27% who would choose a Republican.

Some Republicans, including GOP candidates in key Senate races, have supported Graham’s new proposal.

“I’ve always been pro-life,” Rubio said when asked why he signed the bill. He pressed reporters to ask Democrats what, if any, abortion restrictions they would support.

Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Senate Republican, said he supported the bill. He told CNN that it changes the narrative that Republicans support a total abortion ban “and gives candidates a platform that reflects their views and doesn’t conform to the Democrats’ narrative.”

Pennsylvania-based Republican political strategist Christopher Nichols echoed that view, telling CNBC that Graham’s bill represented “our first strategic response to this issue since the Dobbs decision.”

“It might force the press to get. [Democrats] To admit that their only accepted abortion position is abortion on demand,” Nichols said.

But other leading Republicans either refused to support Graham’s bill or expressed their belief that individual states should set their own abortion laws.

“I think most members of my conference would prefer that this be dealt with at the state level,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who is the GOP’s abortionist if he wins control of the Senate in November. will set the agenda, told reporters. Tuesday when asked about Graham’s bill.

Florida Sen. Rick Scott, chairman of the NRSC, did not express support for the bill during an interview on Fox News on Wednesday.

“Well, if you go across the country, what people are focused on is the economy, their children’s education, public safety,” Scott said when asked about the legislation. “On abortion, Democrats are clearly focused on abortion,” he added.

Asked about the reaction to the bill, Graham spokesman Kevin Bishop noted that Rubio “has gotten on board.”

Republicans have long opposed abortion, and numerous Red states imposed a blanket ban On procedure immediately after Roe’s reversal. But the way Elections Show that a majority of Americans reject the court’s decision — and as women Allegedly Overtaking men in voter registration in key states — Many in the GOP have struggled to counter Democrats, who have made abortion a key part of their message.

“Although abortion is not deciding the midterms, it has been an issue that Democrats have been fundraising and using to get more women to register to vote,” Thompson, the Republican said the strategist.

“I’m very aware of the fact that my party needs better messaging on this issue,” said more women leaders on abortion and related issues.

The RNC advised the campaigns earlier this week to find “common ground” on exceptions to the abortion ban, and to press Democrats on their ideas, The Washington Post reported. Reported Wednesday. The Post reported that the National Party encouraged candidates to focus on issues such as crime and the economy.

“The election must be teaching them something, because I’m not hearing about abortion today,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said on the House floor Wednesday. “What is their position now? America wants to know.”

Some Republican candidates who previously took a hardline stance on abortion during the GOP primaries. Soft or quiet His thoughts as he contests the general elections. As Graham’s bill brought a new focus to the issue, Democrats balked.

“Hershel Walker thinks it’s a problem that our country doesn’t have a national abortion ban,” Sen. Raphael Warnick, D-Ga., tweeted Tuesday about his Republican opponent after Walker posted the video. Said before. That much is said.

In Pennsylvania, Fetterman organized a press conference with OB/GYNs at Philadelphia City Hall to criticize the proposed 15-week abortion ban. He pushed his opponent, Oz, to answer questions about his position on the bill.

Oz, the Trump-backed celebrity doctor who is trailing Fetterman in polls, “is pro-life with three exceptions: the life of the mother, rape and adultery,” her spokeswoman Brittany Yank said in a statement.

“And as a senator, he would like to make sure that the federal government is not involved in interfering with state decisions on this subject,” he said.

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