Many Republicans running in this year’s midterm elections do not support Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., proposed bill that would limit abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy – or after “the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of feeling pain.”
In June, the Supreme Court, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, returning power to the states to limit abortion. Following the SCOTUS decision, abortion became one of the focal points of this year’s midterm election, as numerous GOP candidates were accused by their Democratic opponents of holding “extreme” views on abortion.
One recent ad from VetVotes and the Senate Majority PAC targeted Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters for his pro-life stance, and called him “unAmerican.”
Since Graham’s announcement, several Senate Republican candidates who supported the Dobbs decision told Fox News Digital that they will not support a federal limitation on abortion, while only a few would back the measure.
Some Democrats have pointed out that if GOP members back a federal abortion restriction, they are effectively taking abortion out of the hands of the states. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who is running against Mehmet Oz in the Pennsylvania Senate race, tweeted, “Just ‘leave it to the states’, huh @droz?” while also calling on his opponent to say whether he supports the bill.
“Dr. Oz is pro-life with three exceptions: life of the mother, rape and incest.” Brittany Yanick, communications director for Dr. Oz for Senate, told Fox News Digital, before saying Oz would uphold the state’s right to rule on the issue of abortion.
“And as a senator, he’d want to make sure that the federal government is not involved in interfering with the state’s decisions on the topic. It’s quite the contrast from John Fetterman, who supports abortion up until the moment of birth,” Yanick said.
Other Republicans echoed Oz’s position, but were more forthright in saying that Graham’s bill had no chance of passing in Congress.
“If Washington, D.C., were half as interested in addressing inflation, reducing the debt, and securing the border as they are waging partisan fights over abortion, the American people would be better off,” said Republican Joe O’Dea, the Colorado Senate candidate challenging Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
“This bill will never pass, just like Bennet and Schumer’s bill legalizing elective late-term abortion will never become law. The whole back and forth proves the point I’ve been making for months: Congress needs to pass a balanced approach that protects a woman’s right to choose early in pregnancy and provides responsible limits on late-term abortion,” O’Dea said.
Brian Freimuth, spokesperson for the campaign of Nevada GOP Senate nominee Adam Laxalt, told Fox News Digital that he does not support a federal law.
“This proposal has no chance to pass Congress and receive President Biden’s signature,” Freimuth said. “The law in Nevada was settled by voters decades ago and isn’t going to change. As a pro-life candidate, Adam made his views clear in a recent Reno Gazette Journal column,” where he described how he believes the right to an abortion in Nevada should be decided by Nevada voters, not the federal government.
Laxalt has also stressed the views of his midterm opponent, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., who supported the Women’s Health Protection Act that would allow abortions “without limitations” and after fetal viability.
Not all Republicans have taken stances against the abortion limitation bill.
Graham said it was Democrats who, following the Dobbs decision, “rallied behind pro-choice legislation which allows abortion right up until the moment of birth,” pushing a “radical” position that Americans would reject.
“Our legislation is a responsible alternative as we provide exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and life and physical health of the mother,” the senator said, also noting that around 55,000 abortions at or after 15 weeks of pregnancy occur each year.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who co-sponsored the Graham bill, said he believes it would be the right move for Florida. “Banning abortion after four months is consistent with Florida law and more permissive than all but two European countries,” Rubio said. “Why doesn’t the media ask Val Demings why she doesn’t support a single restriction on abortions? She is an extremist that supports abortion, for any reason, at any time up to the moment of birth and paid for by taxpayers.”
The bill, labeled the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act, aims to protect unborn babies after the point in the pregnancy where they begin to feel pain. The bill, which includes exceptions for rape, incest and when the life of the mother is threatened, would mirror European abortion limits.
“The Supreme Court of the United States has acknowledged that, by at least 12 weeks gestation, an unborn child has taken on ‘the human form’ in all relevant aspects” the bill reads, referring to the 2007 Gonzales v. Carhart court case that banned partial-birth abortion.