South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham came to pay his respects to the Christian Right at the rally known as “Road to Majority.” Abortion was the focus of his speech.
Graham attacks a new bill introduced by House Democrats called the Abortion Justice Act. The bill is sponsored by Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Nikema Williams (D-GA), and Cori Bush (D-MO). The bill:
- Affirms that abortion care is “essential health that should be affordable, available, and supported for everyone who needs it.”
- Argues that “systemic racism, economic diversity, abeleism, and a dehumanizing immigration system exacerbate the already-massive barrier to abortion care.”
- Calls for the availability of abortion medication at state colleges and universities.
- Argues that attempts to restrict abortions are racist.
- Argues that undocumented immigrants are especially in need of abortion access.
- Opposes parental guidance laws that prevent girls under the age of 18 from having an abortion without parental consent.
- Praises abortion providers for being “essential and valued” parts of their communities.
- Calls for an investment in abortion training.
- Calls for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to “award grants to entities to increase abortion access or to support individuals who need access to abortion care.” It calls for $350 million for fiscal year 2024.
- Calls for the increase of the number of abortion providers.
- Calls for the removal of “citizenship and immigration barriers” to abortion services under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
- Asserts that abortion is a “fundamental right.” As a result, government cannot “deny, interfere with, or restrict the right of any person to obtain an abortion.”
Graham calls the bill “The China Abortion Bill” and urges evangelical Christians to come to Washington to oppose it when and if it comes up for a vote in Congress. Graham says that the bill allows abortion on demand up to the point of birth. I am confused by what Graham means here. The Abortion Justice Act does not say that it will allow abortion up to the point of birth. But to give Graham the benefit of the doubt, this is probably implied in the bill.
Graham is not giving up on his own national abortion bill. He wants to ban abortion at fifteen weeks and has already instituted legislation on this front with little GOP support. But Mike Pence is on board with Graham’s bill.
Both the Pressley bill and the Graham bill suggest that it is going to be very difficult to find common ground on abortion as we navigate this post-Roe world. Pressley’s bill is too extreme. It does not represent where most of the country is on abortion right now. Graham’s bill, on the other hand, seems like a bait and switch after the pro-life movement argued for fifty years that decisions about reproductive rights belong to the people of the states.
Graham says the Donald Trump, Tim Scott, and Mike Pence are the best pro-life candidates.
Read all our Road to Majority 2023 coverage here.