Wednesday, September 14, 2022 | Kaiser Health News

Sen. Graham Introduces Bill To Ban Abortion Nationwide After 15 Weeks

The proposed legislation from Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, would prohibit all abortions in the U.S. after 15 weeks except in cases of rape or incest or to protect the life of a mother. It’s a move predicted to further inflame abortion politics ahead of the November midterm elections, and not one all Republicans immediately embraced.

AP:
GOP’s Graham Unveils Nationwide Abortion Ban After 15 Weeks 

Upending the political debate, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced a nationwide abortion ban Tuesday, sending shockwaves through both parties and igniting fresh debate on a fraught issue weeks before the midterm elections that will determine control of Congress. Graham’s own Republican Party leaders did not immediately embrace his abortion ban bill, which would prohibit the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy with rare exceptions, and has almost no chance of becoming law in the Democratic-held Congress. Democrats torched it as an alarming signal of where “MAGA” Republicans are headed if they win control of the House and Senate in November. (Mascaro, 9/14)

Politico:
Graham’s Abortion Ban Stuns Senate GOP

Lindsey Graham’s anti-abortion legislation once unified the Republican Party. The 15-week abortion ban he pitched Tuesday had the exact opposite effect. The South Carolina senator chose a uniquely tense moment to unveil his party’s first bill limiting abortion access since this summer’s watershed reversal of Roe v. Wade. It was designed as a nod to anti-abortion activists who have never felt more emboldened. Yet Graham’s bill also attempted to skate past a Republican Party that’s divided over whether Congress should even be legislating on abortion after the Supreme Court struck down a nationwide right to terminate pregnancies. (Everett, Levine and Ferris, 9/13)

ABC News:
Graham’s Proposed Near-Total National Abortion Ban Quickly Meets GOP Resistance

Even if the GOP were to regain control of the Senate in November, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the Senate’s second-ranking Republican, said he didn’t know if Republicans would proceed with a floor vote on Graham’s measure. Likewise, just a few of the GOP Senate candidates in competitive races immediately voiced support for the measure, including Arizona’s Blake Masters and Georgia’s Herschel Walker. Joe O’Dea, a moderate Republican running to unseat Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado, told the Denver Post he did not back Graham’s bill and called for “balance on the abortion issue.” (Ferris, 9/13)

The Hill:
McConnell Throws Shade On Graham’s Proposed National Abortion Ban 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday made clear that Senate Republicans are not eager to debate Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) proposal to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks of pregnancy, telling reporters that most GOP senators want to leave the issue to states.  McConnell also said Graham’s proposal is the South Carolina senator’s own initiative and not something being pushed at the leadership level.  (Bolton, 9/13)

Graham’s announcement likely will rock the midterm elections —

The New York Times:
Republicans Struggle To Unite Party Around National Abortion Restrictions 

For weeks, anti-abortion activists and their Republican allies have been quietly seeking to rally their party around a single platform on abortion, hoping to settle divisions and blunt political damage from an issue with growing potency in the midterm elections. But when Senator Lindsey Graham came ahead on Tuesday with a proposed 15-week national abortion ban intended to unite his party, the result was only more division. (Lerer and Dias, 9/13)

Newsweek:
Lindsey Graham Gambles Republicans’ Midterm Victory On 15-Week Abortion Ban

Senator Lindsey Graham’s bill to ban abortion federally after 15 weeks could further put Republican midterm victories at risk as the party faces political backlash over the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. … Republicans once hoped President Joe Biden’s lagging approval numbers would propel them to a strong midterm victory, but recent polling indicates their hardline stance on abortion has seen their leads evaporate. Graham’s 15-week abortion ban bill could put Republican candidates in competitive races in a tight spot as they try to strike a balance between motivating their conservative base while not alienating moderate, independent voters on abortion. (Stanton, 9/13)

The Washington Post:
Lindsey Graham’s Abortion-Ban Proposal Is Not Helping His Party 

In announcing the proposal, Graham tied it explicitly to the midterm elections. “If we take back the House and the Senate, I can assure you we’ll have a vote on our bill,” he said. “If the Democrats are in charge, I don’t know if we’ll ever have a vote on our bill.” (Phillip Bump, 9/13)

Also —

The Hill:
White House Blasts Graham Abortion Bill As ‘Wildly Out Of Step’

The White House on Tuesday described a new bill that would impose a nationwide ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy as “wildly out of step” with the country, pushing back hard on the legislation introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement that the ban “would strip away women’s rights in all 50 states.” (Gangitano, 9/13)

The New York Times:
How A Nationwide Abortion Ban After 15 Weeks Would Compare To State Laws 

A proposal to ban abortion nationwide after 15 weeks of pregnancy would stop short of some states’ limits on the procedure but would upend the longtime standard in most others. Such a ban would come early in the second trimester, before common screenings for certain health conditions and several weeks before a fetus is considered viable. (Lutz and McCann, 9/13)

Democrats urge President Biden to protect reproductive health data —

The 19th:
Democratic Senators Urge Biden Admin To Use HIPAA To Protect Abortion Rights

Thirty Democratic senators led by Washington’s Patty Murray are calling on the Biden administration to use health care privacy laws to protect patients’ reproductive health information, specifically when it comes to abortion. (Luthra, 9/13)

West Virginia Passes Abortion Ban, Is Second State To Do So Since Roe’s Fall

Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, is expected to sign the bill after calling for the special legislative session to “clarify” abortion law in the state. The bill has exceptions for rape, incest, and medical emergencies. Meanwhile, an abortion ban in Indiana — the first state to pass a new law this summer — will take effect Thursday.

The Hill:
West Virginia Legislature Approves Abortion Ban, Headed To Governor For Signature 

West Virginia’s legislature approved a sweeping abortion ban on Tuesday, only allowing the procedure in cases of medical emergencies, rape and incest. The bill, known as HB 302, will now head to the desk of Gov. Jim Justice (R), who called a special session of the legislature in July to “clarify and modernize” the state’s abortion laws in the aftermath of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. (Gans, 9/13)

The Washington Post:
West Virginia Lawmakers Pass Abortion Ban 

The West Virginia legislature Tuesday passed a bill to prohibit nearly all abortions, making it the second state to pass a new ban since the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade in June. … West Virginia Republicans moved forward with the strict ban despite signs in other parts of the country that many American voters do not support the Supreme Court’s ruling and largely oppose the harshest restrictions on abortion. A similar effort to pass a near-total abortion ban in South Carolina fizzled out last week, and voters resoundingly rejected a ballot measure in Kansas that would have stripped abortion protections from the state constitution. (Shepherd, 9/13)

Indiana’s abortion ban goes into effect tomorrow —

NPR:
The First Abortion Ban Passed After Roe Takes Effect Thursday In Indiana

The first new abortion ban passed by a state legislature since the overturning of Roe v. Wade this summer is set to take effect Thursday in Indiana. Indiana lawmakers passed legislation banning most abortions in a special session in early August. It includes narrow exceptions for rape, incest, and certain serious medical complications and emergencies. (McCammon, 9/14)

In abortion updates from California —

AP:
California Launches Website Promoting Abortion Services 

California launched a publicly funded website Tuesday to promote the state’s abortion services, listing clinics, linking to financial help for travel and lodging and letting teenagers in other states know they don’t need their parents’ permission to get an abortion in the state. The website is part of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pledge to make California a sanctuary for women seeking abortions now that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade — the landmark 1973 decision that said states could not ban abortion. (Beam, 9/13)

Bay Area News Group:
Newsom Unveils Website To Smooth Access To California Abortions

Abortion.ca.gov allows users to search for an abortion provider near them, while also providing information about abortion rights, the different types of abortions, how to pay for the procedure and more. The website has resources both for people living in California and those coming from states where abortions have been restricted or banned, such as Texas, Tennessee and Alabama. It is available in Spanish, and will be translated into additional languages as well, according to the governor’s office. (Kendall, 9/13)

From Iowa, Texas, and elsewhere —

AP:
Iowa Abortion Providers Say No Basis To Enact Near Ban

Lawyers for Iowa’s largest abortion provider argued in court documents Tuesday that there’s no precedent or legal support for bringing back a law banning most abortions, which a judge had permanently blocked in 2019. Planned Parenthood’s lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa were responding in state court filings to arguments made by lawyers for Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds last month. (Pitt, 9/13)

The Texas Tribune:
Fetal Personhood Law Is Complex And Texas Is Only Beginning To Untangle It 

During the 1960s and ’70s, abortion opponents pushed for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would define life as beginning at the point of fertilization. Such an amendment would have automatically criminalized abortion across the country. But it would also raise all sorts of new questions such as whether a fetus should be included when determining child tax credits, in census counts — or even as a passenger in an HOV lane. Critics say that lawmakers haven’t fully considered these legal questions. Georgia is the only state with a “fetal personhood law” in effect, according to The Guttmacher Institute, and that state is still trying to figure out exactly how to apply that law. (Salhotra, 9/13)

CNN:
The Fight For Abortion Rights In The US Is All Over The Map 

Good luck trying to keep on top of the fight for abortion rights in the US. It’s everywhere, all over the map, and it’s all happening right now. (Wolf, 9/14)

Newsweek:
Abortion Clinics Rush To Relocate To Friendlier Border Towns As Bans Start

Oregon. Minnesota. Illinois. New Mexico. Anticipating a wave of women willing to cross borders to get an abortion, these abortion-friendly states are permitting a string of new clinics to open on their periphery. … Some critics have labeled this the new “abortion tourism,” creating regional abortion outposts next to states where the procedure has been outlawed. (Duin, 9/13)

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