When decades of toil and a couple of stolen seats finally led conservatives to their great Supreme Court victory on abortion, they almost immediately started to downplay the significance of the event. The ruling doesn't outlaw abortion, they said between sips of champagne, it sends it back to the states. Never mind that a bunch of red states had so-called "trigger laws" that activated upon the evisceration of Roe, and that this was more generally a telegraphed bullshit story to anyone who's been conscious for those last few decades in question.
Soon enough, the witless Kevin McCarthy was trumpeting that House Republicans would seek a national abortion ban if he were elevated to Speaker via this November's elections. And now Senator Lindsey Graham has reinforced the message that Republicans will seek to ban abortions in blue states if handed the power to do so. Politico has the details:
FOR YOUR RADAR — Sen. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.) is set to introduce a Senate bill today banning abortions nationally after the first months of pregnancy. Graham has previously introduced similar bills, but this year’s version — which is likely to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, WaPo’s Caroline Kitchener reports, as opposed to the 20-week threshold in previous bills — is sure to become a flashpoint. While Graham and Republicans plan to use the bill to rail against Democratic support for “late-term abortions,” Democrats are certain to seize on any GOP effort to impose a national ban.
First of all, it seems weird for the Lamestream Liberal Media to just go along with this description of the bill as concerning "late-term abortions," a term with no basis in medical science. (It seems to have been an attempt to make abortions in the later second trimester—21 to 24 weeks—seem like they're in the third trimester.) Objective Journalists have been using the "late-term" line for years, but this seems like another level. In the previous sentence, it's cast as a 15-week ban. In no way does that qualify as "late-term." Does it really serve readers to present this as some pitched battle, where each side will have a strategy to fight it out? It's pretty explicitly a messaging bill peddling a false message.
That should be particularly easy to deduce because Graham in particular is completely full of shit. Here he is on May 3, 2022, after a draft of the Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe was leaked:
If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, which I believe was one of the largest power grabs in the history of the Court, it means that every state will decide if abortion is legal and on what terms. That, in my view, is the most constitutionally sound way of dealing with this issue and the way the United States handled the issue until 1973.
This was just a pack of lies. Shameless. Graham is now moving to ban abortions in blue states. He's not leaving it to the states, and it was never his intent to do so. He's been introducing the 20-week national bans for years now! If he wants to ban abortion nationally after 15 weeks, he should own it. Or be made to by the free press.
Maybe the most intriguing thing, then, is that they're so eager to focus the press's attention on the "late-term" mumbo-jumbo. The evidence is growing that Republicans are the dog who caught the car on this, and that they're paying for it politically. It's looking like a poisoned chalice. Is Graham attempting to seize back control of the conversation by directly introducing a federal ban on his terms? Will the Objective Press go along with his characterization of a 15-week ban as "late-term"? If so, he might find a measure of success, at least in reframing the issue and casting Democrats in the extreme position. It is not going to pass, of course, unless Republicans can regain the natural midterm edge enjoyed by the party out of power and secure enough seats to make it happen. Let's hope the press doesn't prove to be an accessory.
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