U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham proposes nationwide abortion ban after 15 weeks

Sep. 13—U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has introduced a bill that would ban abortion, with some exceptions, at 15 weeks into a pregnancy.

Graham, South Carolina's senior senator, introduced the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

"Working closely with the preeminent pro-life groups in the country, we are today introducing legislation to ban abortion at a time when unborn children can feel pain," Graham said in a news release. "Our legislation, which bans abortion after 15 weeks gestation, will put the United States abortion policy in line with other developed nations such as France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain and other European nations."

Different studies have revealed different times at which a fetus feels pain, including from 12-24 weeks of pregnancy.

Graham noted that the current standard of medical care calls for unborn babies to receive pain medication during fetal surgery — in utero surgeries include treatment for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome and spina bifida — at 15 weeks gestation.

The legislation includes exceptions for rape, incest or risks to the life and physical health of the mother.

"After Roe v. Wade was overturned, Democrats in Congress have rallied behind pro-choice legislation which allows abortion right up until the moment of birth," Graham said. "I view the Democrat proposal as radical and one that Americans will ultimately reject. Our legislation is a responsible alternative as we provide exceptions for cases of rape, incest and life and physical health of the mother."

Graham added that over 55,000 abortions at 15 weeks gestation or later occur each year in the United States, and the most recent state-level data shows that the majority of late-term abortions are performed for elective reasons. A majority of Americans — 72% — are in favor of limiting abortions after 15 weeks.

His bill comes less than a week after the S.C. Senate considered an abortion ban that had already passed the S.C. House of Representatives.

Graham's bill drew criticism from the White House after he introduced it Tuesday.

The Senate is controlled by Democrats but it is possible a moderate Democrat, like U.S. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., could support the bill which would give it enough votes to pass.

The House is also controlled by Democrats and, if the bill passed the Senate, the Democratic majority there would likely prevent passage.

And even if the bill passed both chambers, it's unlikely that President Joe Biden would sign it.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the bill is wildly out of step with what Americans believe.

"While President Biden and Vice President Harris are focused on the historic passage of the Inflation Reduction Act to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, health care, and energy — and to take unprecedented action to address climate change — Republicans in Congress are focused on taking rights away from millions of women," she continued. "The president and vice president are fighting for progress, while Republicans are fighting to take us back."

She added Biden and Congressional Democrats are committed to restoring the protections of Roe v. Wade in the face of continued radical steps by elected Republicans to put personal health care decisions in the hands of politicians instead of women and their doctors, threatening women's health and lives.