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What are Republicans saying about the 15-week abortion bill in the Senate?

Some of Sen. Lindsey Graham’s fellow Republicans have voiced support, while many have avoided weighing in on the issue at all

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Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks about an abortion bill during a news conference on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Washington.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks during a news conference to discuss the introduction of the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act on Capitol Hill

Mariam Zuhaib, Associated Press

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., introduced a bill Wednesday that would put a ban on most abortions after 15 weeks and some of his fellow Republicans have voiced support, while many have avoided weighing in on the issue at all.

What is in Lindsey Graham’s 15-week abortion ban bill?

The three exceptions to the ban include cases of rape, incest and threat to the health of the mother. More than 80 GOP House members support and back the 15-week national ban, per The Washington Post.

He noted that the bill is not likely to pass in a Democratic-controlled Senate and House but says he wanted to send a message with the bill as to where the GOP stands on abortion.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2019, a little over 6% of abortions were performed after 14 weeks’ gestation. According to a Wall Street Journal poll, 60% of registered voters prefer abortion to be legal in “all of most cases,” an increase from 55% who believed that in March.

What are Lindsey Graham’s fellow Republicans saying about the abortion ban bill?

The GOP response has been icy, and many Republican representatives outside of the 80 who backed the bill have hedged in saying whether they support the bill or not, with midterm elections two months away.

What they are saying:

  • In a press conference on Wednesday, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said, “First, we’d need to see what our majority looks like,” per The Hill.
  • “In terms of scheduling, I think most of the members of my conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters on Tuesday, per The Hill.
  • Former Vice President Mike Pence told RealClearPolitics: “I welcome any and all efforts to advance the cause of life in state capitals or in the nation’s capital ... (This) is profoundly more important than any short-term politics.”
  • Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC., said he would rather the GOP talk more about the economy and inflation, saying, “That’s what we ought to be focusing on,” CNN reported.
  • “Bad idea. 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,” GOP strategist and ad maker Chris Mottola told NBC News.
  • Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., told The Wall Street Journal that the bill is “an attempt to give Republican candidates, people running for office this year, something to be for that represents a reasonable middle ground.”
  • “I think there are going to be some differences of opinion. My preference is to have each state handle those issues,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told CNN.