Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Tuesday introduced a nationwide abortion ban in the Senate.
Though the ban won’t move forward in the Democratic-controlled Senate this year, it’s a signal for what Republicans will try to do if they retake Congress.
There’s signs that both of Iowa’s senators would potentially be on board with such a vote.
At a town hall in Bedford, Iowa, when asked about making abortion illegal nationwide, Sen. Chuck Grassley said it’s for the best that Roe v Wade was overturned, because it puts the decision at the state level and elected officials back in charge of the decision.
“Abortion will still be legal in some places, more legal, less legal, but it’ll be up to the elected representatives of the state legislatures and I’m kind of thinking that that’s going to be better than unelected judges making that decision,” he said.
When pressed by an audience member whether he’d specifically support action at the federal level, Grassley demurred and only mentioned “elected representatives” again, without narrowing that to only the state.
“Well…” Grassley said, then paused. “I’m going to leave that up to the constitutional lawyers. What we’ve done is gone from unelected people making a decision to letting the elected representatives of the people make a decision.”
When asked by a reporter asked if Grassley thinks the question should be decided by states, Grassley said, “Well, that’s unless something happens either through a court decision or through action that Congress takes.”
In May this year, an antiabortion activist said Sen. Joni Ernst would introduce a bill to ban abortion at around six weeks. Ernst didn’t respond to the Washington Post for comment, then but she’s been an active antiabortion figure in the Senate.
On Tuesday, Ernst told Axios, “We really should let the states take that initial role.”
In July, she told the Gazette, “Again, this has been referred back to the states and local authorities by our United States Supreme Court. So this is not a national emergency.”
In 2019, Ernst and Grassley joined other senators to reintroduce a 20-week national abortion ban. Graham was the lead senator listed on that bill as well.
Graham’s bill, introduced Tuesday, would ban abortion in all states at 15 weeks with exceptions for rape, incest and life or health of the pregnant patient but “not including psychological or emotional conditions.” It also doesn’t change state laws which are more restrictive.
Iowa restricts abortion at 20 weeks and requires a 24-hour waiting period, but Republicans have pushed for tighter restrictions and Gov. Kim Reynolds has petitioned a Polk County judge to allow her six-week abortion ban to go into effect. The ban was ruled unconstitutional by the Iowa Supreme Court in 2018, but the ruling in that case that found a right to abortion in Iowa’s Constitution was overturned in June.
Republicans in the House also introduced a version of the 15-week abortion ban Tuesday.
But Graham put it best what would happen if Republicans took control of Congress and/or the White House.
“I look forward to the vote if we take back the House and the Senate and I can assure you we’ll have a vote on our bill,” Graham said. “If the Democrats are in charge, I don’t know if we’ll ever have a vote on our bill.”
Update (Sept. 14, 2022, 3:35 p.m. ): story updated to add a quote from Sen. Joni Ernst
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