South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham will lead the effort to ban abortion after 20 weeks. Pro-life favorite Sen. Rubio was not able to reach consensus with his Republican colleagues.
“We have not been able to find a consensus among pro-life supporters in the Senate on which constitutionally enumerated powers should be used to ban late-term abortions,” said Alex Conant, a spokesman for Rubio, speaking to the Washington Times. “Sen. Rubio feels very strongly on this issue, and will continue to work on legislation that we can unify people behind.”
Conservatives are divided on the constitutionality of the issue as it relates to the Commerce Clause, reported the Washington Examiner. At a pro-life Republican congress, Utah Sen. Mike Lee voiced concerns over a law that would use Congress’s authority to regulate commerce.
In 2003, the Supreme Court upheld a partial-birth abortion ban with the Commerce Clause as its basis. Justice Thomas and Justice Scalia, however, wrote in a concurring opinion that “the court’s abortion jurisprudence ... has no basis in the Constitution.” The concurrence also noted that “whether the Act constitutes a permissible exercise of Congress' power under the Commerce Clause is not before the Court.”
Conservative states have been rallying for months to ban abortions earlier in pregnancies, wrote the Washington Times. Scientific evidence may indicate that the fetus feels pain by this point. However, Americans are far from settled on the issue.
Surveys indicate that support of the 20-week ban only just surpasses opposition to the ban. In general, Americans still believe abortions should be legal. Newsmax cited polls indicating that men and women are nearly equally divided over abortion, regardless of party affiliation. Some polls indicate that more women support abortion restrictions than men.
“This is a debate worthy of a great democracy,” Sen. Graham told “Fox News Sunday.” “When do you become you: at 20 weeks of a pregnancy? What is the proper role of the government in protecting that child?”
After announcing Sunday that he would lead the ban on abortions after 20 weeks, Graham is expected to introduce the bill this week.