Sen. Lindsey Graham doubled down Sunday against critics within his own party who say the South Carolina Republican’s push for a federal abortion ban is jeopardizing the GOP’s chances in the midterm elections.
Mr. Graham introduced legislation for a 15-week abortion ban last week with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother, prompting pushback from Republicans who accused the senator of shining a spotlight on an issue that hurts them at the ballot box.
“I’m pro-life, even in an election year,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “To those who suggest that being pro-life is losing politics, I reject that. Listen to what I’m saying, and you decide today who you’re with.”
Mr. Graham suggested last week that the Senate would consider his bill if the GOP retakes the upper chamber, a notion Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly batted down.
“I think most of the members of my conference prefer that this will be dealt with at the state level,” the Kentucky Republican said.
Mr. Graham argued that his proposal is in line with other countries like France, Germany and England. He also rejected the notion that his stance is somehow a pivot from when he previously advocated — as recently as last month — that abortion be left up to the states.
“I will not sit on the sidelines and watch this nation become China when it comes to aborting babies up to the moment of birth,” Mr. Graham said. “Here’s what [the Supreme Court] said: officials can make the decision, state or federal. I’m not inconsistent.”
Sen. Mike Rounds, South Dakota Republican, rejected Mr. Graham’s bill Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“A better approach probably will be to allow the states to work through this and to find the appropriate language on a state-by-state basis and to find that common ground,” he said. “After that, maybe Congress steps in again.”