Sen. Lindsey Graham has introduced the “Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act” which would limit abortions past 15 weeks of pregnancy. The bill includes exceptions for rape and incest, offers protections for the woman’s life, and prohibits the prosecution of those seeking abortions. By any objective historical standard, it’s a moderate bill. And yes, it’s also just a political stunt meant to highlight the Democrats’ intractable position on the issue. Good.
According to WPA Intelligence, a GOP political consulting firm, “battleground state voters” say Republicans are more extreme on abortion than Democrats by a 51 to 32 percent margin. It’s unsurprising. For one thing, panicky Republicans are cowardly and ineffective at making the pro-life case. For another, media not only avoid accurately defining the left’s maximalist position – abortion on demand, for any reason, until the moment of birth, funded by taxpayers – but they would rather write risible “fact checks” obscuring that reality than ask a Democrat to defend it. And it’s never going to change.
So let Democrats treat a Republican bill that’s more permissive than abortion laws in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain, as the coming of the Republic of Gilead. Within the European Union, only Sweden (at 18 weeks) and the Netherlands (at 22) feature laws more lenient than the one Senate Republicans are proposing. But, of course, it’s not as if Democrats would accept Swedish or Dutch limits, either.
Forget 15-week restrictions, Democrats have opposed 20-week heartbeat bills in the Senate on three occasions. The left doesn’t support a single restriction on terminating a pregnancy—not at the detection of a heartbeat, not at viability, and sometimes, not even after birth. Not long after then-Virginia Gov. Ralph Northman infamously described the negligent homicide of an unwanted child, Senate Democrats blocked unanimous consent on Ben Sasse’s Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act – a bill that did nothing to limit abortion, but simply protected babies lucky enough to survive the procedure. Not a single coherent, much less moral, argument for opposing the specifics of the bill was offered. There never is.
Instead, Democrats, led by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, are peddling odious legislation like “The Stop Anti-Abortion Discrimination Act,” which would crack down on crisis pregnancy centers, charities that offer women material, emotional, and mental health services. The law would fine centers, which have become targets of vandalism and fire-bombings since the Dobbs decision, $100,000 or half their total revenue, for spreading “disinformation” related to abortion—a political euphemism for disagreeing with progressives. The bill isn’t only an attack on decency, but the First Amendment, as well.
“Today, Senator Graham introduced a national ban on abortion which would strip away women’s rights in all 50 states,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed. “This bill is wildly out of step with what Americans believe.” Is it? Pollsters love to ask irrelevant questions aimed at the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as if voters have contemplated its constitutional dimensions. But whenever pollsters bother to ask voters specifics about the procedure, things become complicated. And nearly every poll that’s bothered to ask voters about post-first trimester bans finds more support than opposition. Which is why Democrats (and many journalists) have taken to calling Graham’s bill a “federal abortion ban” rather than a “15-week abortion ban.” If the ban was as deeply unpopular as Democrats claim, they wouldn’t need to do this.
The left likes to claim that post-15-week abortions are incredibly rare, and that when they do occur they are mostly to support women whose lives are in danger. Graham’s bill doesn’t ban abortions for women experiencing “life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.” What it does do is close Roe’s loophole allowing for late-term abortion due to emotional “distress.” These abortions might be a small percentage of the whole, but they are not rare. There are likely around 10,000 viable or nearly viable unborn aborted every year and probably around 50,000 after 15 weeks. And those abortions are not predominately about health. As the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute once found (it avoids the topic nowadays), a majority of women who seek these abortions “do not do so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.” The pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute also found that medical literature shows that a majority of late-term procedures are not performed for “maternal health complications or lethal fetal anomalies discovered late in pregnancy.”
Not that the American left has shown any inclination to limit or even discourage the termination of the viable unborn for convenience’s sake. The modern left isn’t pro-choice anymore. It’s pro-abortion. Make them own it.