Sen. Lindsey Graham, and not Marco Rubio, is taking the lead on a bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks instead. Rubio reportedly could not find consensus among his conservative colleagues to support the thorny constitutional issue.
Graham, a South Carolina Republican, told "Fox News Sunday" the controversial measure is a "debate worthy of a great democracy," The Washington Times reported.
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The newspaper noted that Rubio, a Florida Republican, was the choice of pro-life groups to lead the battle.
"Our office has been working with other pro-life senators and groups since this spring on developing legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks and unite pro-life Republican senators," Rubio spokesman Alex Conant confirmed to the newspaper.
"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. Sen. Rubio feels very strongly on this issue, and will continue to work on legislation that we can unify people behind," Conant said.
Congressional action to outlaw abortion after 20 weeks, when scientific evidence suggests fetuses can feel pain, was prompted after some states pushed to outlaw abortion earlier in a pregnancy.
The Washington Examiner reports that there is division among pro-life senators in the Republican conference, including Mike Lee of Utah, who questions whether Congress has the authority to regulate commerce, the basis of the legislation.
The commerce clause is the same provision used by the Obama administration to defend the new healthcare mandate.
But despite divisions among conservatives, pro-life advocates believe they can prevail over legal challenges and are pleased that Graham will lead the charge, the Times reported.
“Sen. Lindsey Graham was champing at the bit to do it sooner rather than later,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, which is pushing hard on the legislation. “There’s a point when you just have to go ahead. The timing is really now.”
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