Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday he's confident most Americans would accept his call for a law requiring a national ban on abortion at 15 weeks, even if the measure won't have enough votes to pass in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
"I think the pro-life movement has found a position that most Americans will agree upon," the South Carolina Republican said on "Fox News Sunday." "There will be plenty of pro-choice people who will say at 15 weeks [and that] we should ban late-term abortions with exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother. The people are with me."
Graham added that he's strongly pro-life, even in an election year, and he rejected that being pro-life means "losing politics."
Some in Graham's party, though, have criticized his call for a federal abortion ban, saying they want to leave legislation up to the states.
Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., said Sunday on CNN that the states should be left to "explore the different possibilities" on handling abortions.
"Here in South Dakota, we have one that I signed into law when I was governor back in 2006," Rounds said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also told reporters last week that members of his conference "prefer that this be dealt with at the state level," and Republican Minority Whip Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., agreed that the bill is not sanctioned by party leaders.
Even Graham, two days after the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June, had commented that Americans should "let every state do it the way they would like," but on Sunday, he pointed out that in the ruling, the justices said that "elected officials can make the decision, state or federal" and that he's not being inconsistent.
He also called it "ridiculous" to accuse him, as some have, of being "late to the game" on opposing late-term abortion.
"In 2020, I had a bill on the floor of the U.S. Senate that banned abortions at 20 weeks because the baby can feel pain," said Graham. "I had 51 Republicans voting with me and two Democrats … I was the author of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which made it a crime to hurt a baby if you attack the mother. You'd be charged with two crimes if you attacked a mother and hurt the baby. It passed with 72 votes in the U.S. Senate."
But, he admitted that "we will not pass" all abortion laws.
At the same time, Graham said he won't "sit on the sidelines and watch this nation become China when it comes to aborting babies up to the moment of birth. I will continue to introduce legislation at the national level setting a minimum standard at 15 weeks."
The senator added that one can't expect the pro-life community to sit on the sidelines and watch abortion policies in states like Maryland and California that allow abortions up to the 38th week of pregnancy.
"Dobbs [the court's ruling on Roe] does not require that," said Graham. "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."
Democrats, he added, are trying to be like China on abortion by creating a national law that would allow up to the moment of birth.
"That's the wrong track," he said. "Our alternative is the right track."
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