Sen. Lindsey Graham on 15-Week Abortion Ban Bill: ‘The Pro-Life Movement Has Found a Position That Most Americans Will Agree Upon’

By Melanie Arter | September 19, 2022 | 12:49pm EDT
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (Photo by TING SHEN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (Photo by TING SHEN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that he introduced his bill that calls for a federal ban on abortion at 15 weeks gestation in response to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) introducing legislation several months ago that would allow abortion on demand up to birth.

“Let me just say, number one. I'm pro-life even in an election year. To those who suggest that being pro-life is losing politics, I reject that. So listen to what I'm saying, and you decide today who you're with. Chuck Schumer introduced legislation several months ago that would allow abortion on demand up to the moment of birth, like China and North Korea, for the entire nation,” he told “Fox News Sunday.”

“What did do I in response? I said, at 15 weeks, when the baby can feel pain and sucks his thumb, that we're gonna ban abortion except in case of rape, incest, life of the mother. We're talking almost four months into the pregnancy. It puts us in line with France, who's at 12 weeks, Germany, England is at 14 weeks. Only in Washington is it extreme to protect a baby at 15 weeks from an excruciating death,” he said.

“Only thing I got going for me is every pro-life group in America and about 70% of the American people. So I don't apologize for being pro-life. I think the pro-life movement has found a position that most Americans will agree upon. There will be plenty of pro-choice people who say at 15 weeks we should ban late-term abortions with exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother,” the senator said.

“The people are with me. The Democratic Party is extreme on border. They're extreme on crime. They’re extreme on inflation. To my Republican colleagues. Now is the time to stand up and be counted. The pro-life movement is counting on you. When you ask about abortion, the answer can't be, I'd like to lower inflation. Give a logical answer,” Graham added.

Graham said he has been supporting federal legislation banning late-term abortion for 20 years. He said he introduced a bill in 2020 banning abortion at 20 weeks “because the baby can feel pain.” That bill got the support of 51 Republicans and two Democrats.

“Here's what Dobbs says. Elected officials can make the decision - state or federal. I'm not inconsistent. In 2020, I had a bill on the floor of the United States Senate right across the Capitol that banned abortion at 20 weeks because the baby can feel pain. I had 51 Republicans voting with me and two Democrats. To suggest that I'm new to the game opposing late term abortion is ridiculous,” he said.

Similarly, Graham introduced the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which makes it two crimes if a pregnant woman is attacked and the baby is harmed, and the bill passed the Senate with 72 votes.

“Listen, I was the author of the Unborn Victims of violence act that made it a crime to hurt a baby if you attack the mother. You'd be charged with two crimes. If you attack a mother and you hurt the baby, it passed 72 votes in the United States Senate. I never suggested there's no place for the unborn in Washington, D.C.,” the senator said.

“If you tell the pro-life movement that we're out of business in the nation's capital, that we can't set some minimum national standard to prevent Chinese abortion policy in Maryland or California, there will be revolt by the pro-life community. The people are with me. What am I saying?” Graham said.

“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. I reject that. I will continue to introduce legislation at the national level, setting a minimum standard at 15 weeks, no abortion except for life, rape -- save the life of the mother, rape, incest,” he said.

When asked when Graham told Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) about the 15-week abortion ban bill he was introducing, the senator said, “The pro-life community met with him. Senator McConnell is a good man. He's a pro-life candidate. He voted for my bill in 2020 to ban abortion on demand at 20 weeks, because the child can feel pain. 

We're not talking about transportation policy here. To all the states’ rights people, there's a lot of things been done in this country in the name of states’ rights that was wrong. This is a child in being, developing, becoming a human being. At 20 weeks you encourage the mother and the father to sing to the unborn baby because they can associate your voice with who you are.

At 15 weeks the baby can feel pain. You provide anesthesia to save the baby's life when you operate. To expect the pro-life community to sit on the sidelines and watch abortion policy in Maryland and California abort a baby up to 38 weeks is not gonna happen. Dobbs does not require that. Dobbs says state or federal officials can do it.

Here's what I would tell the Republican Party.  Be not afraid. Stand up for the baby all over the country. We're in line with France, for God sakes. We're three months more liberal than the French.

I'm confident the American people would accept a national ban on abortion at 15 weeks with exceptions for the life of the mother, rape and incest and reject the Chinese abortion policy being pushed by the Democratic Party, and if we can't do this for the unborn, what good are we to the unborn? 

I'll tell you this as a pro-life politician. If you don’t stand with the unborn, the pro-life voter's not gonna stand with you. 

Graham pushed back on criticism from New Hampshire Senate nominee Don Bolduc, a Republican, who said there should be no legislation banning abortion at the federal level.

Let’s look at it this way. This is a wrong track election. I hope the general wins. I hope he wins. I hope Joe O’Dea, who’s pro-choice in Colorado wins, ‘cause he'll change the course of the country on inflation, on border policy, on crime, but abortion is on people's minds.

Here's what I would tell the general. The pro-life movement in this country does not believe the Constitution requires us to sit on the sidelines and watch a baby dismembered in the 8th and 9th month of pregnancy. We don't believe that. The Dobbs decision set us up to elected officials state or federal. 

So the position of the pro-life movement in this country that I am representing today, is that there is a place, a voice for the unborn in the nation's capital, and every Republican, except one or two, 2020 voted for a 20-week ban. Here's what I tell the general. When you're on the stump, look to your opponent and say, what restrictions would you put, if any, on aborting a child? 

I promise you this, general. America is with you when you say at 15 weeks, almost four months, this baby can suck its thumb, all organs are developed. It shouldn't be aborted unless there are very rare circumstances. The people are with you. The people are with us. The Constitution is with us. The 14th amendment for it to mean anything means equal protection under the law. 

I am not going to allow a baby in Maryland and California to be dismembered at 38 weeks. A horrible death without trying to help, and I'm gonna keep fighting in that capital over there for the voice of the unborn. This is a reasonable position. It puts us in the civilized world versus China, and Democrats are adopting China and North Korean abortion policies. 

Graham said that it took him 10 years to get the Unborn Victims of Violence Act passed and 12 years to get a ban on late-term abortion. 

The unborn victims of violence act took me 10 years. I introduced it. It took 10 years to get a federal law to say, if you attack a pregnant woman and you hurt her child, you will be charged with two crimes. It took me 10 years. Late term abortion took 12 years. It will not pass tomorrow, but here's the question. Should it pass? 

If you come to Washington only introducing laws that can pass tomorrow, you're not much good for the country. Should we be a nation that allows abortion on demand like China, up to the moment of birth? Hell no. We should be a nation that sets a national minimum standard of 15 weeks, like the civilized world. Like the French, the British and the Germans. We shouldn't be an outlier.  

Until my last breath I will be fighting for this because in the nation's capital. There’s nothing preventing abortion policy in Washington, D.C., based on constitutional principles or Dobbs. Here's the question for the pro-life movement. Are you going to accept the Republican Party who tells you Washington is out of business? I don't think you will. I don't think you should. I hope that the general wins. 

I hope all our candidates win. We're on the wrong track on crime, on immigration, on taxes, on inflation, but the Democrats are trying to put us on the Chinese track when it comes to abortion. They're trying to create national law that would allow a child to be aborted up til the moment of birth. That's the wrong track. 

Graham said that one day he will get the votes to get a ban on abortion at 15 weeks.

“We will one day get these votes, as we did with the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, as we did banning late-term abortions. We're the party against late-term abortion. The Democratic Party is for abortion on demand up to the moment of birth. The people are with us. To the pro-life leaders out there, be not afraid. There's nothing wrong with being pro-life, folks,” he said.

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