On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) led Republicans in the Senate in introducing legislation to impose a nationwide abortion ban.
The legislation uses loaded and deceitful language in its title. The bill, called the “Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act” by its anti-abortion proponents, would ban all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. It would only allow abortion after that timeframe if a person is the victim of rape or incest, or if their pregnancy poses a risk to their life.
Physicians largely agree there is no such thing as a “late-term abortion,” and that the terminology is meant to mislead people into opposing the procedure. Even so, describing week 15 as “late” in a pregnancy is incredibly inaccurate, many have pointed out.
“Pregnancy is 40 weeks. 15 is NOT late,” political commentator Lindy Li said on Twitter. “‘Late-term’ abortion is just as FAKE as ‘pro-life.'”
The bill isn’t expected to pass in the Democratic-controlled Senate, but it’s likely that the legislation is meant to send a message to the GOP’s anti-abortion voting base — that if they turn out in the 2022 midterms to vote Republicans into congressional power, more legislation like this will be the result.
Indeed, Republicans have been clear about how they will act on abortion should they win control of one or both houses of Congress this year. In May, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said that he and other GOP lawmakers would “certainly legislate in that area” if they won the Senate.
Reproductive rights advocates and members of the media blasted the legislation on social media.
“A few months ago Republicans were heralding the fact that abortion decisions were being sent back to the voter and to the states,” noted Christina Reynolds, vice president of communications for EMILY’s List. “Now they want a national abortion ban.”
“We should be clear that this is actually a blue state abortion ban. The vast majority of red states already have bans stricter than this one,” Talking Points Memo founder Josh Marshall said. “So the point here is really only to overrule the laws of blue states that protect abortion rights.”
“I’m already seeing the ‘it’s only 15 weeks’ talking point, as if the end of Roe didn’t *start with incrementalism*,” said journalist Andrea Grimes. “Anti-abortion politicians have never stopped at 20 or 15 or 12 or 6 weeks, and they aren’t going to do it now, either!”
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