'It's never been about states' rights': Lindsey Graham's abortion ban blasted as 'out of touch'

'It's never been about states' rights': Lindsey Graham's abortion ban blasted as 'out of touch'
Image via Gage Skidmore.

WASHINGTON — Republicans spent the summer arguing that the states should have full control over whether they will allow abortion within their borders. That position changed this month when Congress returned from the August Recess and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) proposed a nationwide ban that would force the restrictions on all states.

In one case, a decision was made by the voters of Kansas in a ballot initiative that would have allowed the legislature to move forward with a ban on abortion. Kansas voters rejected it.

Speaking to reporters after a floor speech, Graham told Raw Story that a fetus feels pain and thus an abortion should be illegal. Advocates argue that it isn't the role of the state to regulate the medical decisions of citizens. Research that a fetus feels pain is unproven, despite anti-choice activists claiming otherwise.

"These statements, and others like them, are problematic because of their definitive nature. Scientific research on pain in the fetus is extremely complicated, primarily because pain is a subjective experience and a fetus cannot indicate if something hurts," FactCheck.org explained. The research Republicans use isn't based on experiments done on a fetus to observe reactions or expressions, it's simply using existing data on the stages of the brain and nervous system development.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) called out Graham for the GOP rapidly changing their position on choice. All of the states that are passing constitutional protections for abortion would go "out the window" she said with Graham's bill. Meanwhile, the extreme state bills that have passed would be allowed to stand.

"This is where the Republicans have always been," she said. "It's never been about states' rights. It's about them using their power to control our bodily autonomy, and when we women can't control what we do with our bodies it affects our families and it impacts our communities. So the MAGA Republicans reign supreme in Lindsey's mind."

After the Kansas decision, for Republicans to do something like this proves how "out of touch they are with what the majority of people want," said Hirono. "So, they have a choice. Do they want a party that is totally out of touch with anything that really matters and are they going to keep voting for these MAGA Republicans?"

"It's a terrible complicated issue, I get it, but you have to make decisions eventually balancing interest," said Graham.

When Raw Story asked how he came up with 15 weeks after pushing legislation for the past two years for a 20-week ban, Graham swore he "I just basically looked at the pain-capable science 15 weeks we still provide anesthesia and that was sorta — the purpose of the 20 weeks was pain-capable. That still exists at 15 weeks."

Graham went on to say that America shouldn't allow an abortion all the way up to birth, which it doesn't, that's already illegal nationwide. A fetus can't survive outside of the womb at 15 weeks, or 20 weeks for that matter because it isn't developed enough to do so. Graham hasn't been pregnant and he isn't a father, if he were he would likely know that a pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. Anything prior to being born at 37 weeks is considered premature. "Extremely preterm infants are born 23 through 28 weeks," explained the New York state Health Department. About 40 percent of premature babies will suffer long-term health problems as a result of being born at 24 weeks, the Utah Department of Health says.

There is also the added problem with the way that the age of a fetus is calculated. The age of the fetus is not based on when the fetus was conceived, but based on the last menstrual cycle of the pregnant person. If one is aware that the date of conception was Valentine's Day, but the last cycle was 3 weeks prior to that, the 3 weeks prior to conception is added to the age of the fetus. So, it's frequently so that a 15-week fetus is actually 12 or 13 weeks old.

Graham was asked about the GOP position that it should be left up to states to decide, replying, "it's a sound position. It's not my position. My position is that we need a national standard" to show "the rest of the world where Americans are at." He doesn't clarify why U.S. abortion laws depend on the thoughts of the international community.

"I think it will hurt Democrats to be seen as being for abortion any time," Graham said. It's unclear why he's not pushing for a total abortion ban if that's his belief.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) told Raw Story that it's clear Republicans want such a federal ban, regardless of what they claim about "states' rights."

"If they win the Senate, they're going to make sure they have the votes to impose it," said Murphy. "Sen. Graham's bill won't be the only one. There will be other versions that will be introduced.

Raw Story asked him about the disconnect the GOP appears to have with voters on the issue, citing the Kansas vote. Murphy explained he didn't think Republicans "have ever cared about where the majority of America is on this issue. They've known it's a minority position. They took it to the Supreme Court in a way that would overturn Roe and they're going to try and impose this minority view on the majority of the country. We've been telling people this is where the debate is going and now we have proof."

With additional reporting by Matt Laslo

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