What Does Lindsey Graham’s ‘Abortion Ban’ Accomplish?

 

You’ve likely seen the headlines, often wildly inaccurate, on Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) legislation to federalize abortion laws. It would prohibit abortions after 15 weeks, which some claim is when a fetus feels pain, except to save the life of the mother.

“Lindsey Graham’s national abortion ban bill makes the midterm stakes very clear,” screamed Vox, a leftist blog site. “Lindsey Graham proposes new national abortion restrictions bill,” proclaimed Axios, a fast-growing leftist news site.

Put aside for now the political wisdom – or lack thereof – of a Republican Member of Congress advocating for a national abortion law during an election (in which he’s conveniently not on the ballot). How would Graham’s legislation affect the prevalence of abortion today?

Not much. I wrote about it last September not long after the US Supreme Court decided to hear Dobbs vs. Jackson, which the Supreme Court in July used to overturn Roe vs. Wade and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey. Daniel Flynn from The American Spectator (emphasis added):

The Lozier Institute released data indicating that the abortions banned under Senator Lindsey Graham’s proposal represent fringe cases. “State and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) abortion data indicate that overall, approximately 6% of all reported abortions take place at or after 15 weeks of gestation,” the group notes in a press release. “When applied to the Guttmacher Institute’s most recent estimate of 930,160 abortions nationwide in 2020, this is approximately 55,800 abortions at 15 weeks or later each year.” In other words, women who wait around until four-months pregnant to terminate a pregnancy number very few. Why does the Left then seek to defend something so barbarous—and rare? Denmark, Germany, Portugal, Austria, and other European countries severely restrict abortion even earlier than when Senator Graham proposes. A national law on this question, in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning a de facto national law preventing abortion restrictions, strikes as politically unwise. But who but a liar pretends that what Graham proposes, rather than the abortion-on-demand schema of his opponents, strikes as the oh-the-humanity outlier?


Source: abort73.com

Politically, Graham’s bill is a head-scratcher. True, Republicans generally are stumbling badly on communicating about abortion. The Senator sees a vacuum and wants to fill it. The components of this bill may test well in public polling. Some may think it contrasts effectively with the fact that every Democrat in Congress has voted for legislation to permit abortion, for any reasons, by any means, up to birth, and even strikes state parental notification laws. Such an approach is favored by only about 10 percent of voters. Just pointing that out would be a massive messaging improvement for conservatives. Having Congress determine abortion law is only favored by 31 percent in a recent poll.

Michigan, Vermont, and California voters will vote on such a policy in November under the guise of “reproductive freedom” or “automony.” Michigan’s initiative (and the misbranded Women’s Health Protection Act) includes a phony “ban” on abortions after fetal viability with a huge exception loophole for “mental health.”

But strong pro-life voters and ardent supporters of practically unlimited abortions won’t be mollified. This election is mostly about the economy (inflation and affordability), with crime and our open southern border foremost in voters’ minds. Abortion falls after that in most voters’ minds. But among those who place this issue closer to the top of their concerns will not support Graham’s approach, never mind the inadvisability of elevating the abortion issue some seven weeks before congressional elections. States, not Congress, is the battlefield on this issue, at least for now.

When engaged in congressional campaigns, I always focused my late messaging on what question I want voters to ask when deciding whom to vote for. Best example: Ronald Reagan’s closing debate question in 1980: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”


GOP challenger Ronald Reagan closed his debate with President Jimmy Carter with the question, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

In 2022, Republicans need voters to ask, “Which candidate will help or hurt Joe Biden’s agenda?” After all, Biden continues to suffer from “underwater” job approval ratings and horrific right-track-wrong-track numbers. Having an agenda that contrasts with Biden’s unpopular one is helpful if it is simple and well-communicated. Focusing on their opponent’s extremism – including their radical support for unfettered abortions – will help cement moderate and swing voters who are already clearly leaning the GOP’s way in 2022. Voters almost always see midterm elections as a referendum on the incumbent president.

Graham’s abortion bill is unwise and unwelcome, both politically and substantively. Add to that media’s insulting headlines and reporting that frequently misleads voters, whether on Graham’s bill or the abortion issue in general. But regardless, the abortion issue (nor, hopefully, Donald Trump) is not going to save Democrats in November.

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  1. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    If I were the Democrats, I would add an amendment prohibiting any state from banning Abortion before, say 6, 9, 12 or 15 weeks.  Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho and West Virginia are pretty extreme.

    • #1
  2. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    If I were the Democrats, I would add an amendment prohibiting any state from banning Abortion before, say 6, 9, 12 or 15 weeks. Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho and West Virginia are pretty extreme.

    President Ronald Reagan disagrees with you, vehemently.

    Tear down that Avatar!

    • #2
  3. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    What does Graham’s bill accomplish?

    Fundraising. 

    • #3
  4. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Lindsey accomplished nothing, except giving the spittle-flecked democrats another meme to rant about. It was stupid. Leave the SCOTUS to the SCOTUS and the States to the States. Shut up about federal ‘solutions’ Lindsey.

    • #4
  5. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Lindsey accomplished nothing, except giving the spittle-flecked democrats another meme to rant about. It was stupid. Leave the SCOTUS to the SCOTUS and the States to the States. Shut up about federal ‘solutions’ Lindsey.

    Fundraising.

    • #5
  6. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    If I were the Democrats, I would add an amendment prohibiting any state from banning Abortion before, say 6, 9, 12 or 15 weeks. Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho and West Virginia are pretty extreme.

    Then so is most of the Western World, Gary.

    • #6
  7. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    If I were the Democrats, I would add an amendment prohibiting any state from banning Abortion before, say 6, 9, 12 or 15 weeks. Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho and West Virginia are pretty extreme.

    Then so is most of the Western World, Gary.

    As was President Ronald Reagan …

    Abortion … and the Conscience of a Nation

    • #7
  8. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    I read…somewhere…that proposing this law is good politics in the sense that it explicitly contradicts the “SCOTUS justices/Republicans would outlaw all abortions” narrative now being disingenuously pushed by the Democrats. The law proposed by Graham would not outlaw all abortion.  And it would make exceptions for the usual R & I. The hope, I suppose, is not so much that the law could pass but that it forces Dems/the media to debate a bit more honestly than they have been. 

    15 weeks is …late. Thanks to the wonders of Ultrasound, I’ve now watched two of my grandchildren grab their toes and suck their thumbs at 12 weeks. I do not believe (Gary, do you? Really?) that a tiny person who can (and wishes to) grab her toes is somehow not a person, doesn’t feel pain, and doesn’t deserve to be protected from being dismembered. 

    (If it was up to me, the law would set the limit at…if not zero…then six weeks. A month an a half. Enough time to know you’re pregnant, to take a test, to make the choice.

    And even then, I’d want someone to ask the pregnant mother “are you sure you really want to do this?” 

     

     

     

    • #8
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    If I were the Democrats, I would add an amendment prohibiting any state from banning Abortion before, say 6, 9, 12 or 15 weeks. Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho and West Virginia are pretty extreme.

    President Ronald Reagan disagrees with you, vehemently.

    Tear down that Avatar!

    This one is more fitting.

    • #9
  10. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    If I were the Democrats, I would add an amendment prohibiting any state from banning Abortion before, say 6, 9, 12 or 15 weeks. Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho and West Virginia are pretty extreme.

    Then so is most of the Western World, Gary.

    Most of the Western World draw the line between 6 and 15 weeks, far less than Democrats, and far more than Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho and West Virginia. 

    • #10
  11. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    I read…somewhere…that proposing this law is good politics in the sense that it explicitly contradicts the “SCOTUS justices/Republicans would outlaw all abortions” narrative now being disingenuously pushed by the Democrats. The law proposed by Graham would not outlaw all abortion. And it would make exceptions for the usual R & I. The hope, I suppose, is not so much that the law could pass but that it forces Dems/the media to debate a bit more honestly than they have been.

    15 weeks is …late. Thanks to the wonders of Ultrasound, I’ve now watched two of my grandchildren grab their toes and suck their thumbs at 12 weeks. I do not believe (Gary, do you? Really?) that a tiny person who can (and wishes to) grab her toes is somehow not a person, doesn’t feel pain, and doesn’t deserve to be protected from being dismembered.

    (If it was up to me, the law would set the limit at…if not zero…then six weeks. A month an a half. Enough time to know you’re pregnant, to take a test, to make the choice.

    And even then, I’d want someone to ask the pregnant mother “are you sure you really want to do this?”

     

     

     

    Yeah, even here that takes too long to explain. Graham or others will not have the time needed to overcome the bumper sticker soundbite from the dems.

    • #11
  12. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Guys like Graham and McConnell prefer being in the minority.   The “fundraising” opportunities are endless and the responsibility to actually deliver on anything is ZERO.   Viewed through that prism Graham’s abortion bill is genius!   It fires up the Democrat base ensuring he’ll be in the minority and he can collect oodles of cash based on :

    his strident stance against abortion

    or

    his sensible abortion compromise

    depending on whose check book is out.

    Give the devil his due…There is a reason he’s been in the Senate since Calhoun.

    • #12
  13. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Percival (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    If I were the Democrats, I would add an amendment prohibiting any state from banning Abortion before, say 6, 9, 12 or 15 weeks. Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho and West Virginia are pretty extreme.

    President Ronald Reagan disagrees with you, vehemently.

    Tear down that Avatar!

    This one is more fitting.

    Perfect!

    • #13
  14. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    If I were the Democrats, I would add an amendment prohibiting any state from banning Abortion before, say 6, 9, 12 or 15 weeks. Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho and West Virginia are pretty extreme.

    Then so is most of the Western World, Gary.

    Most of the Western World draw the line between 6 and 15 weeks, far less than Democrats, and far more than Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho and West Virginia.

    Which makes 15 weeks “normal” and not even slightly “extreme,” Gary. 

    • #14
  15. Ole Summers Member
    Ole Summers
    @OleSummers

    As I have said somewhere else on here, this is a bill that he knows wont go anywhere, if he were serious about it he would at least wait until after the election if a majority is in both houses and make Biden veto it. It is typical of him, talk big and tough when it doesnt count and be the same weasel behind doors with his own kind. He and McConnell would rather be in the minority than have a more active and productive conservative majority directing the party. It is timed to affect the elections without costing him anything personally. This bill only moves the abortion question back toward the federal level where it does not belong. 

    He has had a whole career to “be brave” on abortion and picks this timing more for political reasons than infant lives. But with this he can play the old establishment GOP game is not appearing “extreme” while still holding up some false principle card and hopefully not making those “in the middle” feel too uncomfortable, since we have been “reasonable”. A snake sheds his skin every year and changes some with the season, but he is still a snake all year long.

    • #15
  16. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    If I were the Democrats, I would add an amendment prohibiting any state from banning Abortion before, say 6, 9, 12 or 15 weeks. Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho and West Virginia are pretty extreme.

    Yeah,  Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia oppose sacrificing childen to Molech at any age.  Extreme.

    • #16
  17. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Graham is afraid the Republicans might win. As a result he squeezed real hard and released a stink bomb to the left to make sure they all ran out and voted…against us.

    • #17
  18. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    I guess this is a silly point.  But where does the constitution give the federal government the authority to make this law?  It might make sense for Lindsey Graham to propose this law just so the Republicans can make the point that they do not have the authority to put it in.  

    • #18
  19. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    If I were the Democrats, I would add an amendment prohibiting any state from banning Abortion before, say 6, 9, 12 or 15 weeks. Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho and West Virginia are pretty extreme.

    Like your other fellow Democrats, the last thing you want is for states to make their own decisions. Continued centralization is the goal of all you Democrats. 

    • #19
  20. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Something like this. Senator Geary apparently frequented a brothel in Vegas run by the Corleone family. They drugged him and set him up, then ‘saved’ him, and used him forever after.  

    I suspect many politicians are compromised one way or the other.  It’s doesn’t have to be this nefarious.

    John Roberts for example has adopted children from Russia. What if someone knows there were ‘problems’ with the legality of the adoption legality and the children could be taken away from him and his wife. That would be very strong leverage.

    Look at what happened to every pol who went after Clinton now. Out of politics entirely, on MSNBC, or sabotaging Republicans from the inside.

    He could well be in  someone’s pocket. His “friends”, the Clinton crime syndicate, run him. 

    • #20
  21. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Republicans are in a bind here.  They’ve built their platform on pro-life with the implicit understanding that they would never actually have to do anything about it.  Now they have a problem.  The majority of their constituents are pro-life but the majority of the country does not favor banning abortion outright.  So what does republicanism and Republicanism demand here?

    Abortion is an issue that has no 100% acceptable compromise.  It is like King Solomon offering to cut the baby in half.  Any compromise for the pro-life side means killing a baby.  A 15 week or a 9 month baby, it is still a baby.  Pro-abortion demands that the woman controls her body.  Controlling it for 15 weeks and not 9 months is not control.

    I can see no better solution now than to let it play out in the states for a while.  Republicans should be able to articulate this and say clearly that because the country is so polarized on this, rushing through legislation is not a good idea.

    I’m guessing in the long run, Lindsey Graham’s attempt here will hurt the Republicans because it is a slap in the face to all the pro-life people who supported Republicans over the years.  They achieved a hard fought victory in overturning Roe vs Wade and he immediately tries to snatch it from them.

    • #21
  22. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    If I were the Democrats, I would add an amendment prohibiting any state from banning Abortion before, say 6, 9, 12 or 15 weeks. Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho and West Virginia are pretty extreme.

    Then so is most of the Western World, Gary.

    Most of the Western World draw the line between 6 and 15 weeks, far less than Democrats, and far more than Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho and West Virginia.

    The elected representatives of the people of TX, OK, ID, and WV enacted those laws, as is their right. If the citizens of those states don’t like the law, they can vote them out. As a citizen of the Old North State, those laws are no business of mine.

    ETA: It’s called republican government, Gary. You might want to look into it.

    • #22
  23. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    I guess this is a silly point. But where does the constitution give the federal government the authority to make this law? It might make sense for Lindsey Graham to propose this law just so the Republicans can make the point that they do not have the authority to put it in.

    The commerce clause, under the expansive New Deal interpretation.  This is the source of power for many federal laws, from the civil rights acts to safety regulations.

    It is the basis for the existing federal ban on partial birth abortion, although SCOTUS has not specifically ruled on this issue for that particular statute.

    I think that it is a dubious interpretation, but it is long established and unlikely to be overturned soon.

    • #23
  24. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    If I were the Democrats, 

    Narrator: He is.

    • #24
  25. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    If I were the Democrats, I would add an amendment prohibiting any state from banning Abortion before, say 6, 9, 12 or 15 weeks. Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho and West Virginia are pretty extreme.

    Then so is most of the Western World, Gary.

    Most of the Western World draw the line between 6 and 15 weeks, far less than Democrats, and far more than Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho and West Virginia.

    Of course it’s less than the Party of Death. They have no limits. In some cases they don’t want birth to stop them. One can see the political logic. If they draw a line at one minute before crowning, the line could be pushed back. It does demonstrate that they are worshipers of Moloch. 

    • #25
  26. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    I can see no better solution now than to let it play out in the states for a while.  Republicans should be able to articulate this and say clearly that because the country is so polarized on this, rushing through legislation is not a good idea.

    I’m guessing in the long run, Lindsey Graham’s attempt here will hurt the Republicans because it is a slap in the face to all the pro-life people who supported Republicans over the years.  They achieved a hard fought victory in overturning Roe vs Wade and he immediately tries to snatch it from them.

    It also steps on the line a large number of pro-life supporters used for fifty years, ‘This isn’t a federal issue. Let the states decide for themselves.’. My wife worked with some who wanted a nationwide ban on all abortion, but most realized the battle would be fought on fifty fronts. Let things play out for a few years. Learn from mistakes like Kansas. Step back and see where the new battle lines are drawn.

    It’s reminiscent of the Obamacare failure theater. The party was in the minority and the base wanted it repealed. Oh how the fund raising letters could be written. We need the House. So they got it, but it wasn’t enough. Then they get the Senate. Gee willikers nothing will get signed without the President. Here’s someone who we don’t know how he will govern but at least he’s an R. ‘Well shoot. We weren’t expecting that. We don’t have any legislation ready.’ This isn’t a fund raising issue Lindsey. It’s a life and death issue and the people pushing this want to build upon this victory with tangible results.

    • #26
  27. David C. Broussard Coolidge
    David C. Broussard
    @Dbroussa

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):
    Abortion is an issue that has no 100% acceptable compromise.  It is like King Solomon offering to cut the baby in half.  Any compromise for the pro-life side means killing a baby.  A 15 week or a 9 month baby, it is still a baby.  Pro-abortion demands that the woman controls her body.  Controlling it for 15 weeks and not 9 months is not control.

    For the first time in almost 50 years, we actually can have a debate on this policy in a constructive as opposed to useless way. For the first time in almost 50 years, we can discuss legislative solutions to the issue as opposed to the very long game of SCOTUS nominations. That means that we actually can compromise and convince people of a point of view. It means that people might actually have to think about their position on something and what that truly means. To say that 15 weeks, or 20 weeks, or viability somehow is a line that we can draw isn’t done by unaccountable judges, but by us via our legislators.

    Overall this is a good thing. Initially we will see places like CA allow for unlimited abortions, and places like TX be restrictive while we reach a consensus by state. Where that consensus will be we don’t know. Younger people are more pro-life than they used to be in large part because their first baby pictures are often sonograms. With the eventual approval of artificial wombs (they already exist) the idea of viability as a demarcation line will disappear. It also means that a woman won’t have to carry to term if she doesn’t want to so the bodily autonomy argument loses its validity as well. The fight to consign abortion to the ash heap of history is far from over, but it’s much further along than it was a year ago. 

    • #27
  28. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    I read…somewhere…that proposing this law is good politics in the sense that it explicitly contradicts the “SCOTUS justices/Republicans would outlaw all abortions” narrative now being disingenuously pushed by the Democrats. The law proposed by Graham would not outlaw all abortion. And it would make exceptions for the usual R & I. The hope, I suppose, is not so much that the law could pass but that it forces Dems/the media to debate a bit more honestly than they have been.

    15 weeks is …late. Thanks to the wonders of Ultrasound, I’ve now watched two of my grandchildren grab their toes and suck their thumbs at 12 weeks. I do not believe (Gary, do you? Really?) that a tiny person who can (and wishes to) grab her toes is somehow not a person, doesn’t feel pain, and doesn’t deserve to be protected from being dismembered.

    (If it was up to me, the law would set the limit at…if not zero…then six weeks. A month an a half. Enough time to know you’re pregnant, to take a test, to make the choice.

    And even then, I’d want someone to ask the pregnant mother “are you sure you really want to do this?”

     

     

     

    It’s too early for amniocentesis abortions.

    • #28
  29. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Kelly D Johnston: Graham’s abortion bill is unwise and unwelcome, both politically and substantively.

    Apparently Graham does not respect the recent decision by the Supreme Court . . .

    • #29
  30. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos
    1. The Dobbs decision would seem to indicate that Congress should stay the hell out of it and let any restrictions be done at the state level.  Jumping back into the issue at the federal level strikes me as stupid and it is profoundly un-conservative to try to usurp the states’ newly affirmed authority.
    2. This is a GOP RINO-squish move–a middling gesture that supposedly says the GOP does not favor complete bans on abortion and that will thus provide political cover to GOP candidates terrified of abortion-lover voters.  This will not shift a single vote to the GOP but may confirm the suspicions of folks on the cultural right that there really is no difference between the parties.  The hard-core baby-killer vote is already an active part of the Dem base.
    3. The Democrats’ are supporting bills that legalize infanticide which is taken as a ringing affirmation of “the right to choose” (defined as the option to pretend that it is not a baby at any stage if you say it’s not and to demand everyone agree).  ANY legislative departure from the max death option will be reported in the MSM as an assault on women, which coverage removes any political benefit from the squishy moderate gesture.
    4. It was a dumb idea.
    • #30
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