Nebraska lawmaker backs states rights but also supports federal abortion ban 'on principle'

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Republican Rep. Don Bacon, up for reelection in a competitive seat in Nebraska, said Sunday he supports a federal abortion ban "on principle" after 15 weeks — reflecting a difference from a common Republican position for decades, that abortion should be decided at the state level.

"The voters get to decide. They get to decide by selecting representatives at the state and the federal level," Bacon said on NBC's "Meet the Press," when asked by host Kristen Welker about his current position that the issue should be decided federally. "But on principle, I believe in the humanity of the unborn child."

Abortion rights advocates have argued that a 15-week abortion ban proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reveals that Republicans would pass a national ban if given the chance, rather than leave the issue up to the states, as the recent Supreme Court decision Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization makes possible. Republicans have found themselves straddling a fine line on the subject.

Graham's bill divided Republicans when he presented it last month, with some maintaining that the issue should be left up to the states. It also came at a moment in which abortion has been seen as politically disadvantageous to Republicans, who are trying to win back majorities in the House and Senate in November.

Bacon acknowledged it's unlikely the Senate will be able to pass Graham's bill — or any pro-abortion rights legislation, for that matter — given the 60-vote threshold for passing most legislation. For that reason, "most of these decisions are going to be made at the state level," Bacon said.

The Nebraska congressman also said he supports Herschel Walker's campaign for Senate in Georgia "for policy positions." Walker, who is running in a close race against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and opposes abortion rights, faced allegations last week that he paid for a girlfriend's abortion, along with attacks on him by his son, Christian Walker.

"Herschel needs to come clean and just be honest," Bacon said of the abortion allegations, which Walker has denied. "We also know that we all make mistakes and it’s just better, if this actually did happen, say, 'I'm sorry.'" POLITICO has not independently confirmed the allegations, reported by the Daily Beast.

However, Bacon added, "This is ultimately going to come down to positions."

POLITICO has listed Bacon’s own reelection race against state Sen. Tony Vargas as a toss-up. Bacon received 51 percent of the vote in his race two years ago.