Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday defended his federal abortion restriction bill, as well as his record on whether abortion should be left up to the states.
“To those who suggest that being pro-life is losing politics, I reject that,” Graham (R-S.C.) said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Graham introduced a Senate bill on Tuesday that would ban abortion in most cases at 15 weeks of pregnancy; a companion bill has been proposed in the House by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.).
Some of Graham’s fellow Republicans expressed confusion and hesitancy about the bill this week, and many conservatives have argued abortion restrictions should instead be left to individual states.
Supporters of legal abortion have said Graham’s legislation demonstrates that the real aim of Republicans is to restrict and ultimately ban abortion even in states that have enshrined it in their constitutions. “There are those in the party that think life begins at the candlelight dinner the night before,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi quipped.
The South Carolina senator argued Sunday that he has not been inconsistent on his own stance.
“To all the states’ rights people, there’s a lot of things been done in this country in the name of states’ rights that was wrong,” Graham said.
He continued, “Here’s what Dobbs says: Elected officials can make the decision, state or federal,” Graham said. “I’m not inconsistent … I never suggested there’s no place for the unborn in Washington, D.C.”
However, on Fox News in June, Graham seemed to suggest a different role for the federal government.
“There’s nothing in the Constitution giving the federal government the right to regulate abortion,” he said at the time.
On Sunday, Graham compared Democratic stances on abortion to those of China and North Korea, and positioned himself as an ally of the larger anti-abortion movement. He also rejected the idea that Republicans shouldn’t talk about abortion.
“When you ask about abortion, the answer can’t be, ‘I’d like to lower inflation.’ Give a logical answer,” Graham said, referencing an issue that’s recently been more politically advantageous to his party.
In 2020, Graham introduced a bill that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks. However, his bill this week has been framed as a political misstep by many Democrats, who see a potential advantage in a midterm election season that’s seen abortion rights energize many liberals.