Graham introduces ‘historic’ 20-week abortion ban; says no primary politics at play

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A similar proposal passed the House in June by a vote of 228-196.

Senate Democrats said Thursday that the Graham proposal smacks of politics and that lawmakers should be focused on policies that put more people back to work and foster economic growth.

“We are here today to make one thing abundantly clear, and that is that this extreme, unconstitutional abortion ban is an absolute nonstarter,” Sen. Patty Murray, Washington Democrat, said on the Senate floor. “It’s going nowhere in the Senate and Republicans know it.”

Mr. Graham agreed that the bill likely does not have the votes to pass the Senate — at least now.

He said he is confident that a robust debate on the issue will build momentum for passage and convince lawmakers to join the fight, much like they did in previous congressional battles over the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act and Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

Mr. Graham also said he is not introducing the proposal because he is facing a primary challenge in the 2014 election.

“I came into the political arena pro-life and I will leave pro-life,” Mr. Graham said, adding that voters in South Carolina will decide whether he serves another term. “Did I wake up because I have a primary and say ‘Hey, let’s be pro-life?’ No.”

He said South Carolina voters will likely respond to the bill in a similar fashion to the rest of the nation. “When they understand what I am trying to do, they will say, ‘Yeah, that makes sense,’” he said. “Will it wipe away all the other criticisms? No.”

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