SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Several lawmakers say abortion rights are undeniably on the ballot in November after one U.S. senator proposed a nationwide abortion ban.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-North Carolina) introduced a bill Tuesday that would outlaw any abortion in the U.S. after 15 weeks with exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.
“States have the ability to do it at state level. And we have the ability in Washington to speak on this issue if we choose,” Graham said. “I have chosen to speak.”
Graham is confident the bill would pass if Republicans took back the House and Senate. But even among Republicans, Graham’s bill has proven to be controversial.
Some Republicans in Illinois are ready to throw their support behind the bill.
“I will always support pro-life legislation, including this bill that protects the lives of innocent babies,” Mary Miller said.
“Congressman LaHood’s position on abortion has been clear since joining Congress; he opposes abortion with the exceptions of rape, incest, and life of the mother,” John Rauber, LaHood’s communication director, said.
Other federal lawmakers are more hesitant for taking abortion away from state governments, including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Kathy Salvi, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, would not directly say whether she would support the bill or not but “believes the decision to regulate abortion is best made by individual states”.
Republican Candidate for Illinois’ 13th congressional district Regan Deering said earlier to WCIA that she believes abortion is a decision for the states. Her campaign declined to update her statement.
Deering has been endorsed by the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, a large anti-abortion group dedicated to a federal abortion ban. Their president and founder, Marjorie Dannenfelser, was alongside Graham when he introduced the bill.
Illinois Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), the sponsor of Illinois’s Reproductive Health Act that protects the right to an abortion, anticipated this move for national Republicans.
“Don’t think for a minute that there was a drop of sincerity in any of the folks who were saying ‘we just want these rights to go back to the states,'” Cassidy said in a press conference after a draft of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade leaked. “Because they are already making clear they are coming for a national ban.”
Cassidy has been one of the key legislators working to create Illinois as a state that protects abortion rights. Now, she fears a national law would lose all that progress.
“A federal ban would be a disastrous outcome for for not just here in Illinois, but around the country, and would require some serious fights,” Cassidy said.
Statewide Democratic candidates in Illinois have condemned Graham’s bill.
“A national abortion ban would cost lives, trample women’s rights, and devalue women and girls,” Lt. Governor Julianna Stratton said in a statement. “Believe that Illinois will not waver in the right for reproductive justice because we trust and believe in women.”
“Make no mistake: on November 8th, who we choose to lead us could be the difference between a nationwide ban on assault weapons or abortions,” U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth said on Twitter. “A vote for Democrats is a vote to save lives.”