Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Tuesday introduced legislation calling for a nationwide ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This decision comes at a time when abortion is expected to be a major issue in the US midterm elections.
Graham’s bill is less strict than someenacted following the June ruling of the Conservatives of the Supreme Court of Roe v. Wade. But that would leave those stricter laws in place, and it would impact Democratic-led states that have laws protecting abortion access.
Graham’s proposed legislation includes exceptions for rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. In contrast, current laws in Ohio and Texas, for example, prohibit abortions after six weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest.
Under Graham’s legislation, medical professionals who break the law would face fines or jail time, although women are not prosecuted for having abortions that violate the ban.
The new legislation is unlikely to make it to the Senate as Democrats hold a majority. At a Tuesday press conference on Capitol Hill, Graham of South Carolina said that if Republicans regain control of the Senate, “I can assure you that we will have a vote on our bill.”
Graham and many other Republicans had previously said after Roe’s overthrow that abortion laws should be handled at the state level. The 1973 Roe decision had established a constitutional right to abortion until fetal viability, which is now approximately 23 weeks.
Even if Republicans win a majority next year after November’s midterm elections, the legislation would still be difficult to advance under Senate rules, according to Bloomberg. It would also be.
Graham previously introduced similar legislation in the Senate that proposed a nationwide ban on abortions after 20 weeks.