Graham to introduce legislation to restrict abortions at national level

SC House to consider Senate version of state abortion law later this month
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 2:17 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2022 at 11:27 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (WCSC/AP) - U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham announced legislation Tuesday that would ban abortions nationally after 15 weeks.

The South Carolina Republican said his legislation, called the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act, would set a federal minimum protection for unborn children and bring America in line with similar laws in Europe.

“Working closely with the preeminent pro-life groups in the country, we are today introducing legislation to ban abortion at a time when unborn children can feel pain,” Graham said. “Our legislation, which bans abortion after 15 weeks gestation, will put the United States abortion policy in line with other developed nations such as France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, and other European nations.”

Graham’s proposal would include exceptions, however. It would prohibit doctors from performing abortions after 15 weeks except in situations involving rape, incest or risks to the life and physical health of the mother.

It would also leave in place state laws he called “more protective of unborn life.”

“After Roe v. Wade was overturned, Democrats in Congress have rallied behind pro-choice legislation which allows abortion right up until the moment of birth,” Graham said. “I view the Democrat proposal as radical and one that Americans will ultimately reject. Our legislation is a responsible alternative as we provide exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and life and physical health of the mother.”

Graham noted that over 55,000 abortions at 15 weeks gestation or later occur each year in the United States, and the most recent state-level data shows that the majority of late-term abortions are performed for elective reasons.

A release from Graham’s office claims 72 percent of Americans are in favor of limiting abortions after 15 weeks.

South Carolina lawmakers failed to pass a more restrictive abortion law earlier this month.

The South Carolina House passed a ban on abortion at all stages of pregnancy in late August with exceptions for the mother’s life and rape or incest up to 12 weeks.

The Senate passed a six-week ban, based on when cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo, with exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest, to save the life of the mother and, when approved by two doctors, in cases of fatal fetal anomaly.

The Senate version of the bill varies slightly from a 2021 South Carolina law that was passed but remains on hold while the South Carolina Supreme Court considers a new legal challenge from abortion providers. One change to the law passed but blocked included cutting the period when pregnancies resulting from rape or incest may be aborted from 20 weeks to about 12 weeks. The proposal also requires that police receive the fetus’ DNA.

The state currently bans abortions 20 weeks after conception.

Speaker Murrell Smith announced Monday that the House will meet on Sept. 27. Late Tuesday afternoon, lawmakers confirmed House members would be considering the Senate’s changes to the abortion bill.

Read the text of Graham’s legislation below: