The senator, who as South Dakota’s governor signed a bill in 2006 that sought to ban most abortions there, is the latest in a growing list of Republicans to have voiced opposition to Graham’s bill. That bill, introduced Sept. 13, would allow some states’ stricter abortion laws to remain, but impose new restrictions on other states.
Though the GOP has traditionally championed limiting the procedure, the party is split on whether Congress should impose abortion rules on states. Previous attempts to do so have been unsuccessful, and Rounds said Graham’s latest bill is unlikely to pass the House and Senate.
Neither senators’ office responded to a request for comment from The Washington Post late Sunday.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade earlier this year made it so that states set their own abortion policies — and that’s how it should remain, Rounds said.
Since the Supreme Court struck the long-standing precedent, legislators in 22 states have moved to further restrict abortion access. Now almost one-third of women ages 15 to 44 live in places where the procedure is banned or mostly banned. But the cascade of legislation prompted by Roe’s overturning stands in stark contrast to the opinions most Americans hold.
Several polls indicate that the majority of Americans favor abortion rights. A July Pew Research Center poll showed that 62 percent of those surveyed said abortion should be legal in all or most cases. In a Washington Post-Schar School poll from that same month, 65 percent of respondents indicated that the end of Roe v. Wade represented a “major loss of rights” for women, and almost a third said abortion will be one of the “single most important” issues when they vote in November.
Still, Graham on Sunday said he was “confident the American people would accept a national ban on abortion at 15 weeks.”
“And to those who suggest that being pro-life is losing politics, I reject that,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”
However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last week distanced himself from Graham’s bill, saying “most of the members of my conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level.” Republican Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin also said states should set abortion policies.
With a 15-week benchmark, Graham’s bill is less restrictive than some of the most hard-line abortion laws — such as the near-total bans in Indiana and West Virginia or the heartbeat bills in Texas and Georgia. However, if it was to pass, Graham’s bill would roll back access in some blue states that have laws protecting abortion rights — for instance, in New York, California and Illinois.
As Republicans speak out against Graham’s bill, Democrats have seized on the party’s divisions.
“Republicans are twisting themselves into pretzels trying to explain why they want nationwide abortion bans when they said they’d leave it up to the states,” Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said last week.
Two days after the Supreme Court struck down Roe, Graham said that “there’s nothing in the Constitution giving the federal government the right to regulate abortion.”
“Let every state do it the way they would like,” he told Fox News’s Martha MacCallum.