Proposed federal 15-week abortion ban draws strong reaction in North Carolina

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Friday, September 16, 2022
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A proposed nationwide 15-week abortion ban, introduced by South Carolina Republican Lindsay Graham, has drawn strong reaction from both abortion rights and anti-abortion rights act

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A proposed federal 15-week abortion ban, introduced by South Carolina Republican Lindsay Graham, has drawn strong reaction from abortion rights and anti-abortion rights activists.

"The chaos, the confusion, and the devastation that we are seeing across the country is exactly the environment anti-abortion lawmakers have worked for decades to create. This is about control, and they won't stop until abortion is banned across the country," said Jillian Riley, NC Director of Public Affairs of Planned Parenthood.

"We're pro-life, and we believe that life begins at conception. And so this bill would actually back up our 20-week ban and make it a 15-week ban which we're in favor. Now some of the exceptions that are in the bill, we don't like them, but we can live with them if we can save more babies," NC Values Coalition Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald said.

The legislation includes exceptions for rape, incest, and when the mother's life is in jeopardy, and comes less than three months after the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade. That ruling returned the issue to be handled on the state level.

"We see a national abortion ban being proposed that would override the will of millions of Americans in states where abortion is more accessible including here in North Carolina. We're also seeing the political re-working of the often-introduced national 20-week ban now be re-written to be a 15-week ban. This constant moving of goalposts for political gain is an insult to voters, and a danger to women, girls, and people who can get pregnant," Pro-Choice North Carolina Executive Director Tara Romano said.

"We think that all life, all human life is sacred, and is valuable, and each person has the dignity of a human being. We should treat everybody with respect and dignity, including the unborn," North Carolina Right to Life President Dr. Bill Pincus said.

Pincus voiced his support for mandating a partner provide financial support during pregnancy, and floated the idea of the government providing a tax incentive during pregnancy, similar to a child tax credit.

While the Dobbs decision largely garnered unified Republican support, that has not been the case with these national abortion ban proposals.

"The longer abortion is in the news cycle, and bills like this place it squarely in the news cycle, the more it puts Republicans in a very awkward spot. There's some winning issues they can be talking about. This isn't one of them," Meredith College Political Science professor Dr. David McLennan said.

In the House, there were 86 Republican sponsors of H.R. 8814, including five from North Carolina, most notably Senate candidate Ted Budd.

"It inoculates him from being lumped with some of the folks that want to ban abortions completely, so it allows a 15-week window. But on the other hand, he's now linked with a topic that I think Republicans would rather not talk about in the fall campaign. Inflation, immigration, crime, but not abortion. So being on that bill and now answering questions about the bill keeps bringing up for voters, even Republican voters who might be more inclined to cross the aisle and vote for a Democrat because of this issue," McLennan said.

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