Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., sought to pin Democrats down on abortion before the midterms with a 15-week nationwide restriction, but Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., said abortion law should remain a state right.
"Right now, we should allow the states to explore the different possibilities about the appropriate way," Rounds told CNN's "State of the Union" about not backing Graham's proposal to restrict abortion nationwide after 15 weeks, except in the cases of rape, incest, or the health of the mother.
The Supreme Court kicked abortion law back to the states when it overruled Roe v. Wade in late June, but Democrats are gaining midterm ground in polling on the abortion issue, and Graham has been resoundingly criticized for fueling their political narrative.
"Before the last decision, we actually looked as a group of us trying to ban any abortion past 20 weeks," Rounds said. "We weren't successful at that time. I don't think any proposal today would be successful in the House and the Senate.
"I think a better approach probably will be to allow the states to work through this and to find the appropriate language on a state-by-state basis and to find that common ground.
"After that, maybe Congress steps in again. But, at this point, I think the states are in a better shape to explore and to find the right direction on a state-by-state basis."
Even a deep red state like South Dakota has been unable to decide the abortion restriction limit, Rounds noted.
"Here in South Dakota, we have one which is what I actually signed into law when I was governor back in 2005-2006," Rounds said. "I think the individual states will come up with a multiple — a whole lot of different ideas about how to appropriately discuss abortion in general. And then I think there will be a consensus over a period of years.
"But, at this point, to have Congress step back and have to tell all of the states that we know better than them how to handle this is probably not the right direction to go."
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