GOP legislators led by Senator Lindsey Graham this week introduced a bill to ban abortion after 15 weeks. This federal legislation, which will not pass while Democrats control Congress and the White House, is meant “to define who [Republicans] are,” according to Graham. The bill includes exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and to protect the life of the mother.
Last year, congressional Republicans proposed legislation to ban abortion after 20 weeks. This new legislation, the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act, would allow more restrictive state legislation to stay in place, simply placing a cap on when abortion is legal in blue states such as California and Vermont.
The 15-week cap matches that of the Mississippi law that led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June. This legislation is the first time post-Roe that Republicans have tried to take a strong legislative stance on abortion at the federal level. Meanwhile, a dozen states have enacted, with few exceptions, total bans on abortion.
The White House blasted Graham’s legislation as “wildly out of step with what Americans believe.” Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called it “radical,” saying the bill would be “threatening women’s health and lives.” However, a 15-week ban would put the United States more in line with Europe, a typically progressive nation.
In fact, “the overwhelming majority of European nations limit elective abortion prior to 15 weeks gestation,” according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Just over half even ban elective abortion after 12 weeks. Meanwhile, the United States sits in the company of China and North Korea in permitting no-questions-asked late-term abortion.
While this latest piece of legislation has no chance of passing during this Congress, it is forcing Democrats to clarify their position on when abortion is acceptable. As we’ve seen throughout the past few years, we are a far cry from the days of “safe, legal, and rare.” Most Democrats will refuse to specify what, if any, restrictions they would put on abortion.
Yet more Americans believe abortion should be outlawed after 15 weeks of pregnancy than those who oppose a ban. This type of ban wouldn’t even prevent most abortions, which occur during the first trimester.
While not as wide-reaching as pro-lifers would like, this type of bill could put the U.S. more in line with its European counterparts, suggesting the Republicans are not the ones who are “out of step,” but the Democrats who are pushing the more radical, no-limits abortion agenda.