Graham defends federal abortion bill amid criticism it tramples states’ rights

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., defended his federal abortion bill as consistent with being a pro-life position amid criticism that it contradicts the states’ rights argument taken by Republicans just three months ago when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Graham explained his position in an interview with Fox News Sunday,” noting that he is “pro-life even in an election year.” 

“Chuck Schumer introduced legislation several months ago that would allow abortion on-demand up to the moment of birth, like China and North Korea, for the entire nation,” Graham said. “What did I do in response? I said at 15 weeks when the baby can feel pain and sucks its thumb that we’re gonna ban abortion except in the cases of rape, incest, life of the mother, we’re talking almost four months into the pregnancy. It puts us in line with France, which is at 12 weeks. Germany, England is at 14 weeks. Only in Washington is it extreme to protect the baby at 15 weeks from an excruciating death.”

“Here’s what Dobbs says: Elected officials can make the decision, state or federal. I’m not inconsistent,” he continued. “To all the states’ rights people: There’s a lot of things been done in this country under the name of states’ rights that was wrong.”

SEVERAL GOP SENATE CANDIDATES REVEAL THEY DO NOT SUPPORT 15-WEEK FEDERAL ABORTION LIMITS

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, walks to the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, walks to the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.
(Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Graham announced his legislative proposal, the “Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act” on Tuesday. Despite criticism from Democrats and some Republicans, Graham appeared confident that the general public would support his idea.

“I’m confident the American people would accept a national ban on abortion at 15 weeks with exceptions for the life of the mother, rape and incest, and reject the Chinese abortion policy being pushed by the Democratic Party,” he said.

“Fox News Sunday” anchor Shannon Bream pointed out that Graham’s bill cannot pass in the current Congress.

“Late-term abortion took 12 years,” Graham responded. “It will not pass tomorrow, but here’s the question: Should it pass? If you come to Washington only introducing laws that will pass tomorrow, you’re not much good for the country.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks with reporters about aid to Ukraine, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, March 10, 2022, in Washington.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks with reporters about aid to Ukraine, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, March 10, 2022, in Washington.
((AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File))

Republicans appear divided on the issue after they celebrated the abortion question being returned to the state level following the June ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is one seat away from majority control, said Tuesday that “most of the members of my conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level.”

DEMOCRATS REJECT GRAHAM’S ‘RADICAL’ PLAN TO ALLOW ABORTION UP TO 15 WEEKS

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., questions Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., questions Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Don Bolduc, a Republican running against Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, said Tuesday, “I believe the federal government should stay out of it.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., whose race is tightening against Democratic challenger Rep. Val Demings, signed on to Graham’s bill, saying he has “always been pro-life.”

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Graham also penned an op-ed for Fox News Digital on Sunday defending the bill.

Jessica Chasmar is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to Jessica.Chasmar@fox.com and on Twitter: @JessicaChasmar.