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Sen. Lindsey Graham

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life conservatives are divided over the political wisdom of Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina introducing legislation to ban elective abortions after 15 weeks with less than two months before critical midterm elections to determine control of Congress.

Introduced September 13, Graham’s Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act forbids abortions past 15 weeks’ gestation (citing preborn babies’ capacity to feel pain by that point) except in cases of rape, incest, or physical danger to the mother.

“Our legislation […] will put the United States abortion policy in line with other developed nations such as France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, and other European nations,” Graham said, and a contrast to the Democrat position of “abortion right up until the moment of birth.”

The bill cannot become law until Republicans retake the presidency, the House of Representatives, and enough Senate seats to overcome a filibuster, so the debate has largely centered around its utility as a messaging tool, eliciting mixed reactions from numerous angles.

Some pro-lifers welcome any opportunity to; others are less than enthused about a ban that only applies to roughly five percent of abortions. Some such as National Review personalities Andy McCarthy and Charles Cooke have inaccurately argued that the Constitution does not allow for federal action on abortion; others such as Ramesh Ponnuru pushed back on their arguments.

But the bulk of the conversation has concerned the political wisdom of Republicans pushing a federal abortion law at this point in time, with Democrats facing intense disconnent on their handling of the economy and issues such as border security, especially with the political fallout of America’s new abortion status quo since Roe v. Wade’s overturn not yet entirely clear.

Daily Wire commentator Matt Walsh suggested it will reinforce Democrat messaging about Republicans’ ambitions for the issue, and Relatable podcast host Allie Beth Stuckey argues it will effectively paint Democrats as the true abortion extremists.

Polls offer inconsistent evidence both on Americans’ abortion views and on how they prioritize the issue. While several recent surveys have found more Americans identifying the preservation of abortion as “very important” to their midterm vote, though the economy, inflation, gas prices, health care costs, crime, and gun violence all continue to rate as higher priorities.

Further, polling outfits such as Gallup and Marist find that Americans overwhelmingly oppose allowing elective abortions past the first 12 weeks (36% according to Gallup, 29% according to Marist), placing Graham’s bill firmly within the mainstream. Ultimately, its impact on the race may come down to how effective Republicans are at conveying what it does or does not do in the face of left-wing claims.

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