'This is a powder keg': Lindsey Graham’s abortion ban splits Republicans over the issue of states' rights
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham‘s unexpected announcement Tuesday, promoting his new bill to ban abortion nationwide at 15 weeks was mostly ignored or even panned by his fellow GOP Senators, but it is finding support, in one of the most right-wing caucuses of the House of Representatives.
Members of the Republican Study Committee, likely the largest and most extreme group in the House of Representatives, had “an intense meeting today,” in response to Graham’s attempt to put forth and pass a nationwide abortion ban. That meeting resulted in “multiple divides,” according to PBS Newshour correspondent Lisa Desjardins.
Some House Republicans including far-right extremist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, “oppose Graham’s 15-week bill as far too moderate. They want a total, national ban.”
Others, Desjardins says, “think Congress has no business telling states what to do” in general, “and on abortion specifically.” Still other Republicans expressed concern about how the issue of abortion will affect the November midterm elections, as well as the messaging around abortion.
“All of this is a powder keg” for House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Minority Whip Steve Scalise, “as they prepare for a poss[ible] GOP take over of the House. And also prepare for it to be by a smaller margin than they once thought. A margin that could make speakership much harder to grasp for McCarthy,” she adds.
In fact, in the more than 24 hours since Graham announced his proposed ban, McCarthy hasn’t said one word about it – despite promising to support a 15-week ban immediately after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in June.
Polls show increased support for the right to abortion after this ultra-conservative Supreme Court decided a 50-year-old constitutional right actually didn’t exist.
Washington Post congressional reporter Marianna Sotomayor says Steve Scalise, a hard-core right-wing Republican, “was noncommittal about whether a GOP majority would vote on” a 15-week abortion ban, telling her, “First we need to see what our majority looks like.”
That would be a switch – Scalise, from Louisiana, fully supports a complete and total ban on abortion.
“Congressman Scalise believes that human life begins at conception and is fighting to protect the rights of the unborn,” his website boasts, calling abortion part of his “views on Family Values.”
“Congressman Scalise has supported several pro-life bills and is a member of the House Pro Life Caucus. Congressman Scalise has a 100% pro-life voting record with the Louisiana Right to Life Federation and will continue to fight for the rights of the unborn.”
Sotomayor called Scalise’s response a “notable change after top aides signaled it would be prioritized.”
The Washington Post reports “More than 80 GOP House members are also backing a 15-week ban,” which is more than one in three House Republicans.
“Democrats are pouncing on those mixed signals to hammer the simpler message they’ve promoted for months, warning that Republicans want to continue to erode access to abortion even after the high court took away a constitutional right to the procedure,” the Post adds.
“Democratic pollster Molly Murphy said Graham’s 15-week bill, released Tuesday, has only reinforced the argument that Republicans will try to enact significant new restrictions if they gain control of Congress. ‘I feel like I’ve had a roller coaster of a day between, ‘What kind of three-dimensional chess are they playing?’ to kind of settling into, ‘They’re not,’ ‘ said Murphy, who is working on the Arizona Senate race.”
“Asked whether they would back Graham’s legislation, many GOP nominees in the closest Senate races gave ambiguous answers or did not respond.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in Punchbowl News’ Wednesday morning email newsletter said she fully expects Democrats will not only keep the majority but add seats.
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