Who does Lindsey Graham's abortion ban help?

The sharpest opinions on the debate from around the web

Lindsey Graham.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) surprised some of his fellow Republicans this week by proposing a nationwide ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for cases of rape and incest, or a threat to the woman's health. "The developed world has said at this stage into the pregnancy the child feels pain," Graham said, "and we're saying we're going to join the rest of the world and not be like Iran." The bill split Republicans. Many moderates have been scrubbing their websites of anti-abortion talking points, hoping to keep the backlash over the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade (1973) from hurting the GOP's chances of winning control of the Senate in the November midterm elections. Many conservatives want abortion banned outright, not just restricted as Graham proposes, even though that could cost the party midterm votes. Former Vice President Mike Pence said fighting for a national abortion ban "is profoundly more important than any short-term politics."

The top Republican in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), brushed off Graham's proposal, saying "most of the members of my conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level." Democrats were happy to have Graham put the issue center stage, noting that Graham's proposal would let more restrictive abortion bans stand in red states, while restricting abortion rights everywhere else. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Republicans were clearly "focused on taking rights away from millions of women." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) mocked Republicans who thought Graham's proposal didn't go far enough, saying some in the party "think life begins at the candlelight dinner the night before." Did Graham's plan backfire, or will it help unite the GOP?

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of TheWeek.com when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.