McConnell Distances Himself From Graham's Abortion Bill

GOP strategist calls bill 'politically inexplicable' with midterms looming
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2022 7:47 PM CDT
Republicans Back Away From Graham's Abortion Bill
Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks during a news conference to discuss the introduction of the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced a bill to bring in a nationwide ban on abortion after 15 weeks Tuesday—and his fellow Republicans didn't exactly embrace it. With Democratic candidates including John Fetterman in Pennsylvania putting abortion rights at the center of their campaigns, GOP strategists said it was a bad idea to bring more attention to the issue when Republican candidates should be focusing on President Biden's handling of the economy, NBC reports. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell distanced himself from the bill Tuesday, saying the bill was Graham's own initiative and and it wasn't being pushed by party leadership, reports the Hill.

"With regard to his bill, you’ll have to ask him about it," McConnell told reporters. "In terms of scheduling, I think most of the members of my conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level." Republican Sen. John Cornyn also said his preference was for the issue to decided on a state-by-state basis and "suggested Graham had gone a bit rogue with his latest legislation," per Politico. "That wasn’t a conference decision. It was an individual senator’s decision," the Texan said. The campaigns of some Republicans running for Senate seats said they wouldn't support the legislation, and GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she would support nationwide legislation protecting abortion rights.

In Michigan, GOP strategist John Sellek noted that Tudor Dixon, the party's candidate for governor, has been trying to move away from the subject, NBC reports. "Considering that the GOP nominee for governor is desperately trying to change the media discussion back to inflation, education, and crime and the congressional committees are running ads in multiple districts hitting Democrats on spending, Graham’s actions are practically inexplicable politically," he said. Politico reports that Democrats were amazed at the "political lifeline" Graham's bill handed them Tuesday as a worse-than-expected inflation report and crashing markets threatened to ruin President Biden's celebration of the Inflation Reduction Act. (More abortion stories.)

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