The White House along with the entire political left reacted to a strangely timed announcement by Senator Lindsey Graham on a proposed bill to ban abortion nationwide in most cases, a move that could galvanize Democrats with the critical midterm elections less than two months away and control over Congress hanging in the balance.
On Tuesday, the South Carolina Republican held a press conference to roll out his legislation that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks at the federal level, just under three months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a historic ruling that sent the decision on the controversial practice back to the states.
Acknowledging that “abortion is a contentious issue,” Graham said, “We will introduce legislation…to get America in a position at the federal level I think is fairly consistent with the rest of the world.”
“I look forward to the debate, I look forward to the vote. If we take back the House and Senate, I can assure you we’ll have a vote on our bill. If the Democrats are in charge, I don’t know if we’ll ever have a vote on our bill,” he added.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre released a statement slamming Republicans after Graham’s announcement: “Today, Senator Graham introduced a national ban on abortion which would strip away women’s rights in all 50 states. This bill is wildly out of step with what Americans believe.”
“While President Biden and Vice President Harris are focused on the historic passage of the Inflation Reduction Act to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, health care, and energy – and to take unprecedented action to address climate change – Republicans in Congress are focused on taking rights away from millions of women. The President and Vice President are fighting for progress, while Republicans are fighting to take us back,” she said.
While @POTUS and @VP are focused today on the historic passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and lowering costs for the American people, Republicans in Congress are focused on stripping away rights from millions of American women. https://t.co/qCRuY0JE8e
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) September 13, 2022
“President Biden and Congressional Democrats are committed to restoring the protections of Roe v. Wade in the face of continued radical steps by elected Republicans to put personal health care decisions in the hands of politicians instead of women and their doctors, threatening women’s health and lives,” the statement read.
Jean-Pierre also fielded questions about Graham’s surprise announcement during Tuesday’s daily press briefing, calling the proposed bill extreme.
Reporter: Would the Biden Admin be open to a compromise with Sen. @LindseyGrahamSC's bill, since many Americans don't support late-term abortion.
KJP says the bill is extreme and not what Americans want – ignoring most Americans are against infanticide pic.twitter.com/JtcWHGfTGD
— Media Research Center (@theMRC) September 13, 2022
Judging by the reaction from Resistance Twitter, Graham’s legislative Molotov cocktail could potentially burn down any hope of the GOP retaking the upper chamber in November which was already looking like a tall order after Mitch McConnell trashed candidates endorsed by former President Donald J. Trump.
someone at DNC needs to send Lindsey Graham a gift basket for making clear Rs are after a natl abortion ban.
— Jennifer "Pro-privacy" Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) September 13, 2022
Thank you to GOP Senator @LindseyGrahamSC for making clear that abortion is on the ballot this November.
Democrats support Roe v. Wade. Republicans want to impose a national abortion ban and government-mandated pregnancies.
The two parties are not the same. Vote this November. https://t.co/j4y4yY6QlF
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) September 13, 2022
Lindsey Graham just took a flamethrower to every carefully crafted Republican narrative designed to fool voters about their intentions on abortion. The American people can now see very clearly what they intend to do.
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) September 13, 2022
My mom raised me to fight for the rights & freedom of others. I was raising Jaime to do the same, until she was murdered. I hear you Lindsey Graham. American voters are clear. You put it out there for all today. I predict a record voter turnout and America saying NO WAY!!!
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) September 13, 2022
Lindsey Graham really wants November to be about abortion. He thinks his national abortion ban will galvanize voters.
He’s right. It will.
I say, “Challenge accepted.” What do you think, friends? So say you all?
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) September 13, 2022
Why is Lindsey Graham introducing national abortion ban legislation right now? To distract everyone from Trump’s downfall. And while that might work, it’ll just make more midterm voters more aware that women’s rights are on the line in November. Thanks for the assist, jackass!
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) September 13, 2022
I see Lindsey Graham's out there campaigning for Democrats. https://t.co/jlXQjHqJxq
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) September 13, 2022
Trust me: Lindsey Graham’s plan to remind us that Republicans took away women’s right to control our own bodies is not going to go the way he thinks it is.
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) September 13, 2022
They’re announcing a national abortion ban AND they’re making Lindsey Graham the face of it?!
Did a Democrat come up with this?
— Sam Youngman (@samyoungman) September 13, 2022
Others were left scratching their heads over what appears to be a major unforced error by Graham.
Hi @LindseyGrahamSC — Just like the Constitution does not empower the Supreme Court to mandate abortion access in every state, nor does it authorize Congress to outlaw it. An unconstitutional federal abortion ban only hurts the pro-life movement. https://t.co/IS2omZfXUc
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 13, 2022
It feels a little bit like Lindsey Graham is trying to sabotage his own party. Why else would he put forward this grossly unpopular ban before the midterms? I mean, is he that stupid? Trying to figure out what the end game is here.
— Kansas City For Democracy (@KCforPete) September 13, 2022
I get the motivation behind this and all but why not wait until after mid-terms when this is only going to drive our democrat voters to combat stuff like this?
Political malfeasance here, but wouldn’t expect much different
— skarlitwhich69 (@skarlitwhich69) September 13, 2022
If we don’t retake the Senate in November, it will be because of RINOs like Mitch McConnell & Lindsey Graham.
— Alex Bruesewitz 🇺🇸 (@alexbruesewitz) September 13, 2022
Republicans who were willing to go on record questioned the wisdom of Graham’s September surprise.
Politico reported that Texas Sen. John Cornyn suggested that Graham may have “gone a bit rogue with his latest legislation.”
“That wasn’t a conference decision. It was an individual senator’s decision,” he said.
“There’s obviously a split of opinion in terms of whether abortion law should be decided by the states … and those who want to set some sort of minimum standard,” Cornyn added. “I would keep an open mind on this but my preference would be for those decisions to be made on a state-by-state basis.”
GOP Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina suggested that it was more important to hold Biden’s feet to the fire on the economy, especially after the latest disastrous CPI figures were released, showing 8.3 percent inflation in August.
“That’s what we ought to be focusing on,” he said.
“Bad idea,” Chris Mottola, a GOP strategist and ad maker said. “It rips open a political sore. The political environment was moving back to economic issues. It further nationalizes an issue that works against Republicans generically.”
Sen. Graham has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons lately, first for saying that if the Justice Department brings an indictment against former President Donald J. Trump, there would be “riots in the streets” and now this, both only serving to support the establishment’s false narrative about “MAGA Republicans” being extremists.
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