Congressional Democrats this week attacked Sen. Lindsey Graham’s legislative proposal to allow abortions up to the first 15 weeks of pregnancy nationwide, and some went as far as calling the plan “radical.”
“I think the idea of the government being in the doctor’s office telling a woman what decision she needs to make is very radical. I think it’s un-American,” said Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who is running for the Senate in Ohio. “It violates freedom and personal liberty,” Ryan said.
Ryan called Graham’s bill the “largest governmental overreach in the private lives of American citizens in the history of our lifetime.”
“A complete flip-flop from the idea they wanted this to go to the states,” he said. “I think most Americans don’t want the government up in their business especially on very tragic and complicated matters like this.”
Other Democrats labeled Graham’s proposal a “ban” even though it would permit abortions up to 15 weeks, on par with what many countries in Europe permit. While introducing his bill on Tuesday, Graham noted that countries such as Norway and Germany have even more restrictive limits.
“I think if people care about reproductive freedom, they’ve got to support a Democrat because Lindsey Graham and his friends are going to ban abortion nationwide and that’s not what the American people want,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., mocked Republicans for comparing Graham’s bill with a selective group of European policies in order to defend it.
“Now Republicans want to be consistent with European countries?” Swalwell said. “They don’t want to give people health care like European countries do, but they want to have some semblance of what European countries do on women’s rights? I mean, it’s nonsense. This is government-manded pregnancies.”
“The voters overwhelmingly do not want that,” he said.
Graham’s bill includes several exceptions, including for rape, incest and when a woman’s life is in danger from a pregnancy. It also explicitly bans the prosecution of women seeking abortions.
However, Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., argued that Graham’s bill undercuts Republican arguments that it should be left to states to manage abortion laws, not the federal government.
“Sen. Graham’s bill is an act of staggering hypocrisy. The conservative movement cannot claim that abortion should be left to the states and then proceed to introduce a national ban on abortion,” Torres said.
Pressed more specifically on if a 15-week limit is radical, Torres said, “there are extenuating circumstances that require abortion after 15 weeks.”
“Instead of drawing an arbitrary line we should respect the right of every woman to be in control of her own body,” he said.