In June, the U.S. Supreme Court took away the constitutional right to abortion, clearing the way for lawmakers to decide their own abortion laws at the state level. But yesterday, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham introduced a nationwide ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy—a ban that, if enacted, would apply to all states.
Senator Graham also claimed, falsely, that the ban would put the U.S. in line with European countries.
“The nationwide abortion ban introduced in the Senate yesterday exposes the pretext that reversing Roe v. Wade was about letting each state decide its own laws,” said Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, in a statement.
Since the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in June, anti-abortion lawmakers in several states have moved to enforce abortion bans which were previously unenforceable under Roe. Abortion is now illegal in 11 states–and more states are expected to take action.
The Center and its partners continue to fight in court to block state abortion bans and restrictions.
Northup continued, “A national ban is completely out of step with what Americans want and need. The loss of Roe has thrown the country into a public health crisis. Pregnant people in life threatening situations are being turned away from hospitals. Doctors are being forced to choose between doing what’s best for their patients or risking arrest.”
The proposed nationwide abortion ban would “leave in place state laws with stricter restrictions but supersede those that allow the procedure after 15 weeks, outlawing many abortions that are currently legal,” reports The New York Times.
Northup called for the enactment of the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA)—federal legislation that would “restore legal abortion access in every state and allow people to control their own bodies and futures.” WHPA was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives for the second time in July, but the bill fell short of the votes needed to advance in the Senate.
Graham Falsely Claims Nationwide Ban Would Align the U.S. with European Countries
Senator Graham claimed, falsely, that his proposed nationwide 15-week abortion ban would put the U.S. in line with European countries. In fact, across Europe and in most other developed countries, abortion is allowed on broad grounds around or until viability.
Where countries impose earlier gestational limits for abortion on request, there are often very broad exceptions to these limits, such as socioeconomic concerns or to preserve the person’s mental health. Moreover, unlike in the U.S., women in many developed countries have access to subsidized or fully funded abortion services and face fewer legal hurdles. Read more in the Center’s statement here.