What to Know About Lindsey Graham's Proposed National Abortion Ban

Republican senator Lindsey Graham is set to introduce his national abortion ban to Congress on Tuesday.

The bill, dubbed “Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act” reportedly calls for a national ban on abortions from the 15-week mark. The proposed legislation is the South Carolina lawmakers sixth attempt at banning abortion, and comes less than three months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, leaving the power to decide up to the individual states. 

Graham previously tweeted, ahead of the overturn of Roe v. Wade, that he believed returning the abortion access decision to states was “the most constitutionally sound way of dealing with this issue.”

The new proposed legislation is an updated version of the previous bill of the same name that restricted abortion access after 20-weeks of pregnancy, with few exceptions. The earlier bill cited fetuses being capable of feeling pain at 20-weeks as a main reason for banning abortion access. But that matter remains scientifically controversial, and unfounded. 

A 2020 study from the Journal of Medical Ethics looked at fetal pain in relation to abortions and found, “given that the cortex only becomes functional and the tracts only develop after 24 weeks, many reports rule out fetal pain until the final trimester.” 

Graham’s proposed legislation does include several exceptions, including for rape, incest and when an individual’s life is in danger from a pregnancy. It also bans the prosecution of individual seeking abortions, but does impose a criminal penalty of up to five years in prison for doctors who perform abortions. The bill also requires a physician trained in neonatal resuscitation to be present at an abortion if a child can survive outside the womb.

This legislation is nothing new in a post-Roe world. On the heels of the this summer’s Supreme Court ruling, Florida and Missisippi signed into law 15-week abortion bans, and Oklahoma made performing an abortion a felony in most cases. 

“Republicans in Congress have shown yet again that they will impose a nationwide abortion ban if given the opportunity,” Danielle Melfi, executive director of Building Back Together, an advocacy group linked to the Biden administration, said in a statement. “This bill underscores just how out of touch they are with the vast majority of the American people, who overwhelmingly oppose proposals to take away our rights and freedoms. 

Before you go, check out these celebrities who bravely shared their abortion stories:

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