Lindsay Graham thinks his Republican critics don’t understand the politics of abortion


WASHINGTON — A rocking video shows a woman walking down the streets of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, into the district office of Nicole Mariotakis, the only Republican representative from New York City, Washington.

When the staff member looks up from the desk, the woman presents a stack of documents in her hand. “I saw Congressman Mario Takis the other day unable to comment on Lindsay Graham’s National Abortion Bill. She needed a copy, so she’s bringing one,” the woman says.

“When can she present her position to us?”

Rep. Nicole Mariotakis, speaking at a press conference, RN.Y.

Rep. Nicole Mariotakis (RN.Y.) at a press conference at the Capitol on Sept. 14. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Within two months, voters in the Mariotakis district will decide whether to support her reelection bid for former seat-holder Democrat Max Rose. Like many other Republicans across the country, Mariotakis said polls show Democrats are working more closely with voters than revisiting controversial social issues. , would have almost certainly preferred to talk about crime and inflation.

That’s not possible since last Tuesday, RSC Senator Lindsay Graham introduced a bill banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy in nearly all cases, allowing states to implement more restrictive bans. became. “Graham’s stunt is a godsend and helps remind voters that Republicans want to ban abortion everywhere. A Democrat told Politico.

Graham’s bill shatters the tenuous consensus that Republicans have struggled to maintain since May. A leaked draft Supreme Court opinion in the case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health showed that the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 made abortion accessible nationwide. was about to end. Defenders of the Dobbs decision argued that Democratic states could keep abortion completely legal, while Republican-controlled states could outlaw the procedure entirely. Such was the consensus, then, that advocates of state rights hailed as a natural consequence of federalism.

Graham basically called his party’s bluff. If the Republican Party really was the “Party of Life,” how could it allow the relentless abortion of much of the country? How could Dobbs be seen as anything other than a minor victory? While the ruling made access to abortion more difficult in states with little reproductive freedom to begin with, the ruling made it difficult for states like New York and California to increase access to abortions, including for women from elsewhere. is now expanded.

Senator Lindsay Graham, RS.C., as the new abortion bill is unveiled on Capitol Hill.

Senator Lindsay Graham as the new abortion bill is unveiled on Capitol Hill on September 13th.

A person familiar with Graham’s ideas said the senator did not want “state rights to take precedence over unborn child rights.” It could jeopardize his party’s chances in March’s midterm elections.

“Democrats have wanted to say all summer that Republicans support abortion bans at the federal level. Now they can,” Republican strategist Colin Reed told Yahoo News electronically. told me by email. “It is confusing voters who heard candidates say this should be a state issue. The problem is, it’s hard to be both.”

For his part, Rose — That campaign designed a stunt at Mario Takis’ district office — Graham’s proposal was seized as soon as it was issued on Tuesday, persistent inflationsent the Dow Jones Industrial Average in free fall.

Instead, coverage of Graham’s bill dominated the news cycle, with Democrats bombarding battleground Republicans with questions about their stance on the proposal, many of which had only recently learned of it. It made no difference that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had no clear enthusiasm for Graham’s proposed ban. “I think most members of my council would like this to be handled at the state level,” a particularly grumpy McConnell said Tuesday. Refused to discuss further.

Perhaps most perplexing to Republicans, after Dobbs’ June decision, Graham, like most Republicans, appears to be in the camp to allow states to set their own abortion rules. It looked like

Abortion rights activists chant during a rally in front of the Supreme Court in June.

Abortion rights activists at a rally in front of the Supreme Court on June 23. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

“I am consistent. I think the state should decide the marriage question, and the state should decide the abortion question.” In an August 7 interview with CNN, Graham said:the quote that newly swept across Twitter hours after Graham announced his proposed ban on Tuesday.

President Biden couldn’t help but notice the sudden change. “When lawmakers move from promoting state rights to promoting nationwide bans,” he said. murmured An explicit reference to Graham “makes it clear that they don’t care about the Constitution.”

A few weeks after that CNN interview, Graham seemed to change his mind.

Speaking to Fox News on Sunday about his proposal, Graham described last Tuesday’s proposal as the culmination of decades of efforts to ban abortions during second and third pregnancies. “I’m not contradicting myself,” he added while touting past legislative efforts. .”

(The controversial term “late-term abortion” generally refers to pregnancies that end after the 21st week of gestation. This is a rare step that is almost always done for serious medical reasons. Overwhelming abortion The majority is done near the end of the first semester.)

A person familiar with Graham’s thinking told Yahoo News that senior senators from South Carolina have come to the conclusion that national legislation is needed after Law’s reversal.

Former Vice President Mike Pence at the Bremer County Republicans' Grill and Chill on August 20 in Waverly, Iowa.

Former Vice President Mike Pence last week reiterated his support for “all efforts to advance the cause of life in state or national capitals.” (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“I think we’ll see people get involved,” said an associate of Graham’s, who asked for anonymity to speak candidly about the senators’ thoughts. “A smart Republican running for election this year will pick this up. We’re clarifying the situation.”

Some Republicans are more receptive than McConnell. Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio was quick to accept Graham’s plan.previous Vice President Mike Pence said: He welcomed “any effort to advance the cause of life in a state or national capital.”

A person familiar with Mr. Graham’s thinking said it was a mistake for Republicans to get away with Mr. Graham’s bill, instead seeking to align the relationship between Republican states enforcing abortion bans and Democratic states seeking to expand access to abortion. He argued that it should be accepted as the midpoint between

As an example, Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz cited Pennsylvania as a hotly contested state. With neighboring West Virginia just implementing a near-total abortion ban, Oz has to answer questions about where Graham stands on reproductive rights, whether or not he introduced a nationwide ban. As Graham’s close friend argued, Democrats nationalized all state-level development, telling supporters that a Republican restriction in one state must affect efforts in another. I am telling you.

Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz at a news conference in Philadelphia on Sept. 6. (Mark McKella/Getty Images)

“Actually, 15 weeks is a much better policy for Dr. Oz,” argued Graham’s associate, who advocated limiting when Americans could perform abortions, as Graham himself did. He pointed out that polls show that at risk. But the Oz camp doesn’t think Graham’s move was particularly helpful. his campaign said As a sitting senator, “he wants to keep the federal government from interfering in state decisions on this topic.”

Other Republican candidates were more outspoken. “If Washington, D.C., were half as interested in dealing with inflation, reducing its debt, and securing its borders… wage a partisan struggle over abortionthe American people will have a better life,” said Joe O’Dea, a Senate candidate from Colorado.

“This is an absolute disaster,” said one Republican political consultant. complained to the Washington Post.

Democrats see Graham’s proposal as a political gift, but also a realization of their fears. (inflation, crime, pandemics and Biden’s own enduring unpopularity). strengthened.

White House Assistant Press Secretary Kevin Munoz told Yahoo News, “While President Biden is focused solely on fighting for American families, Republican officials are backing the country with arcane policies. The split screen between trying to make it show exactly who is prioritizing the American people.

President Biden.

In a tweet last week, President Biden said, “When lawmakers go from promoting state rights to promoting a nationwide ban, it shows they don’t care about the Constitution.” Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Republicans had used the economy as their main stick against Biden, but Graham criticized that approach on Sunday, calling once again on the party to embrace the abortion controversy, rather than run away from it. When asked, the answer can’t be ‘I want to bring inflation down.’ Give a logical answer,” he told Fox News.

So far, though, Democrats have been much more eager to talk about Graham’s proposal than Republicans. -Va.) seized Graham’s bill, and her opponent, Jesli Vega — who questioned the biological feasibility of pregnancy from rape — remained in “deep contact” with voters in the district’s suburbs. not.

Vega, for her part, hammer bread burger Because they are “deaf” about inflation.

Many other Republican candidates quickly distanced themselves from the state’s ban, hoping never to be questioned again. We decided we should,” Alec Scarlatos, the Republican candidate for Congress representing the Eugene area, told Yahoo News, adding that he would vote against Graham’s bill. if elected to the House of Representatives.

Despite the ruckus he caused, Graham has not apologized for the bill. criticized. Graham made no excuses. And on Sunday mornings when elected officials try to set the agenda for the upcoming week on morning talk shows, he continued to defend his plan. ” Graham said.

“I never sit on the sidelines,” he added.