AUSTIN, Texas - South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is proposing new legislation that would include a federal ban on what he defines as late-term abortions.
The Senator held a news conference alongside the president of a pro-life advocacy group to make public his plans for introducing the bill.
"Here, here's what I think. Then I think we should have a law at the federal level that would say after 15 weeks, no abortion on demand except in cases of rape, incest, to save the life of the mother, and that should be where America is at," said Sen. Graham.
Both the White House and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have released statements disagreeing with Graham's proposed ban.
Katie Naranjo, chair of the Travis County Democratic Party, and Ashley Brasher, board president of the Williamson County Republican leaders, join FOX 7 Austin's Rebecca Thomas to discuss.
Rebecca Thomas: Katy, what do you make of this proposal? Why is 15 weeks too early to limit abortion access?
Katie Naranjo: Well, if Mr. Graham were able to carry a child, he would know that most of the genetic tests you get is actually at 16 weeks or after. It's really crucial in that 16 week to 20-week period where you're facing stillbirths, you're facing a number of other life-threatening situations and a pregnancy. As someone who's had a child. I can tell you that those decisions need to be made between the person having the child and their loved ones and their physician, and that's it. It's very hypocritical and ironic that this government, the Republican Party, wants to regulate women's bodies. However, they don't want people to have to get a vaccine. And it's also hypocritical that they want to ban it at the federal level, but not leave it to the states. What does the Republican Party believe?
Rebecca Thomas: Well, let's talk about that, Ashley. Since the overturning of Roe v Wade. Republicans have been calling abortion an issue to be left to the states. Does the introduction of a federal bill come off as hypocritical?
Ashley Brasher: No, absolutely not. I think the federal government is doing exactly what it should be. It should be the leaders. It should be the cornerstone. This is laying the foundation and the groundwork for the guidepost that we want states to use. GOP leaders are doing exactly what the Republican constituents are asking for. The American people want leadership. We want them to stand up and do what we want. That's what we elected them to do, and we believe in the sanctity of human life. As a mother of three children, that's important to us.
Rebecca Thomas: Katie. Polling indicates abortion bans have been unpopular among moderate Republicans and independent voters. Why do you think some Republican candidates continue to dig in on this issue?
Katie Naranjo: Well, even like in the state of Texas, Governor Greg Abbott has continued to not only make abortion illegal in every instance in the state of Texas, we also have the criminalization of any abortion providers in the state. And in addition to that, we also have a Attorney General, Ken Paxton, who is suing the federal government to not protect the life of the mother in the instance of being an abortion. So the Republican Party in Texas is even further right than what Senator Graham is proposing. And I'm really curious as to where the pro-life movement is going to go next. And we know that they're against contraceptive. We know they're anti sex education. So this is just a continuation of control over a person's body and their rights and liberties which are guaranteed in the constitution.
Rebecca Thomas: Ashley Today, Senator graham proposed exceptions for rape and incest, which are not included in the Texas law. Do you think that this is something lawmakers here should revisit?
Ashley Brasher: I do think at the end of the day, we need to make special consideration for extreme circumstances. I do know that there is a concern that those situations, those caveats to this bill would be abused in some way, that there will be providers that are sneaky and dishonest and try to go about using those exemptions in ways that they weren't intended. So we need to be very clear and very delineated in those lines of who can use those exemptions and are they extreme cases? Is it necessary at the end of the day? We just want to make sure that a viable baby is able to live their life as they have the right to do. All right.
Rebecca Thomas: We are out of time, but Ashley, Katie, thank you both for sharing your perspectives with us tonight.