GOP Knows Abortion Ban Faces Uphill Senate Fight — But It’s Picking It Anyway

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2015 file photo, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Visiting Iowa for the first time this year, Graham got some advice from Republicans... FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2015 file photo, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Visiting Iowa for the first time this year, Graham got some advice from Republicans already thinking about the state’s lead-off presidential caucuses. “I need to show up,” he says they told him. Graham spent two days in Iowa this week, mostly attending private events with Republican elected officials and activists as part of his efforts to “test the waters” for a potential campaign. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File) MORE LESS
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Wednesday marked the second time in two years the House of Representatives passed a 20-week abortion ban. But this time, as opposed to the bill’s passage in 2013, Republicans have the benefit of a GOP-controlled Senate and a majority leader who has already promised to bring it up for a vote once it’s introduced in the upper chamber.

That doesn’t mean the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is likely to overcome a filibuster by Democrats, a reality the measure’s champions have already acknowledged.

“I can’t promise you we are going to get 60 votes this year,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is expected to introduce a Senate version soon, told anti-abortion activists at the Susan B. Anthony List Gala last month.

Indeed, Senate Democrats’ No. 4, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), has already vowed to “[fight] hard in the Senate to make sure it doesn’t go anywhere,” in a statement after the House vote.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is the only Democrat on record saying he will support the bill, and even if Republicans bring the rest of the left’s anti-abortion contingency — Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) — on board, they will fall short of the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation, which also faces a veto by the President.

Graham and other supporters have compared the measure’s prospects to that of the partial birth abortion ban, which was vetoed twice by President Bill Clinton before President George W. Bush signed it in 2003. Likewise, the GOP’s long-term plan for the 20-week ban requires Republicans capturing the White House in 2016.

The question remains whether a losing fight over late-term abortions in the short term will help or hinder politically the GOP’s presidential contenders, who have lined up in favor of the legislation.

Republicans are betting that even a losing effort can win over those on the fence about abortion, particularly abortions late in the pregnancy: polling shows a solid majority of Americans — otherwise split on abortion — favor a ban after 20 weeks. Furthermore, Republicans see it having a special appeal with much-sought-after Hispanic voters, who are heavily Catholic with a strain of social conservatism.

However, Democrats hope it puts the GOP on track for another Todd Akin moment. Before its passage this week, the legislation had mired House Republicans in a controversy over its rape exemption language, prompting an embarrassed leadership to withdraw it from its initially scheduled vote back in January.

So far, top Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is not shying from the fight.

“Politicians should not interfere with personal medical decisions, which should be left to a woman, her family and her faith, in consultation with her doctor or health care provider,” her campaign’s senior policy advisor Maya Harris said in a statement Wednesday.

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  1. Avatar for wtf1 wtf1 says:

    It’s not facing an “uphill” battle-it’s a failure right out of the box! What a waste of time!

  2. The vast majority of abortions after 20 weeks are for medical reasons, usually a major fetal abnormality. And many such abnormalities aren’t even detected until after the 20th week of pregnancy. And such situations are usually heartbreaking events for people who very much wanted a child. Most people reflexively imagine a plump, healthy little baby when they’re just asked about this, but polling that explains the facts finds majorities opposed to these disgustingly dishonest laws.

    For decades, the forced-birthers have pushed pictures of allegedly aborted fetuses in our faces; maybe it’s time for the truly humane side of this debate to start publicizing photos of fetuses with their malformed brains growing outside their skulls. Forcing a woman to carry her fatally-deformed or dying baby for up to another four months is not only risking her own physical health, it’s emotional torture. These twisted, sadistic misogynists need to be out of our politics already.

  3. Current politics is about the party primaries, not so much the 2016 election. And during the primaries you can expect prospective candidates to play hard towards their base. That’s what this is about. Things change rapidly once party conventions are held.

  4. In Paraguay right now there is a 10 year old child that is 5 months pregnant. Her government is forcing her to have the child. This news is in the hourly news cycle in France, Japan and Britain … but almost no coverage at all in America.

    She was raped by her stepfather, who is now in jail. Her mother is in jail for child neglect. The government is still trying to determine who will have custody of the child and her child, who will be responsible for raising both children and paying for it.

    The situation is being condemned worldwide, including by the UN and just about every human rights organization possible.

    Why is this story not being covered at TPM? Why are you not getting every presidential candidate on record regarding an abortion ban? Why not every Congressman, Woman and Senator?

    Over 600 children under the age of 14 are forced to have children in Paraguay EACH YEAR. That’s nearly two EACH DAY.

    This is what an unconditional ban on abortion looks like, in a real-world, it-is-happening-right-NOW situation.

    What the Republicans in our Congress and Senate are attempting to do is implement Paraguay law in the United States.

    Paraguay has a population of 6.7 million. Compared to the United States, our population is nearly 50 times greater. Try to imagine 600 under-14 children in the United States being forced to give birth to children each year. Now multiply that by 50 … that would be nearly 30,000 children being forced to give birth to children each year, with no recourse for support or to pay for medical expenses or to then raise those children.

    TPM – Get our politicians on record. Democrats, Republicans, all. Pose this situation to them and get their responses published.

  5. The GOP ‘abortion battle’ has nothing to do with abortion. It’s all about using an issue to send out pleas for money to fight an imaginary battle. Abortion is one of many issues that politicians use to raise money as they pretend to fight a war they hope they will never win. If they accidentally win, a major source of funding will dry up.

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