Senate Republicans, led by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, are pushing for a federal ban on abortions after the end of the 20th week of pregnancy.
Graham is expected to introduce the bill this upcoming week, reports The Washington Examiner
, and the legislation will be a companion bill for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, passed in the House
earlier this year.
The planned legislation, though, will face many challenges, not only from the Democratic-controlled Senate, but from some Republicans like Sen. Mike Lee, Utah, who has concerns about Congress' authority to regulate commerce as the law's basis.
Back in 2003, a partial-birth abortion plan based on the Commerce Clause was upheld by the Supreme Court, with Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia emphasising that the "court's abortion jurisprudence has no basis in the Constitution."
Graham is up for re-election in South Carolina next year, so his push on the late-term abortion ban may help him fight challengers in the Republican primary. He holds the lead by 51 percent, according to current surveys, but several conservative groups, including the Senate Conservatives Fund, for one, have in an effort to oust the veteran senator.
But Graham has backed pro-life legislation long before this challenging election year. In 1999, when he was still a member of the House of Representatives, Graham introduced the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
Pro-life groups were quick to commend Graham for his plans to introduce the bill.
"Ten states have already enacted the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and it is National Right to Life's top congressional priority," said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, The Christian Post reports
. "We commend Sen. Lindsey Graham for his leadership in bringing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act before the Senate."
National Right to Life, in a letter to senators encouraging them to pass late-term abortion rules, said that a recent survey by The Polling Company showed that 64 percent of respondents would support a late-term abortion bill, unless the life of the mother is in danger.
The legislation still allows abortions after 20 weeks, the group pointed out, if the mother's life is endangered or in cases of rape or incest reported prior to the abortion to the appropriate authorities.
Late abortions are not rare, the NRLC said. At least 140 abortion providers in the united states offer procedures past the 20 week point, using a variety of techniques.
"The American public understands the vital importance of protecting pain-capable unborn children from the violent act of a dismemberment abortion," Tobias said.
However, in Texas,
one of the states that has passed the act, a federal judge in Austin ruled this past week that the new restrictions are unconstitutional and would not start, as scheduled, last Tuesday.
District Judge Lee Yeakel said the regulations violated the rights of abortion doctors to do what they think is best for their patients and would unreasonably restrict a woman's access to abortion clinics.
But by Thursday, a federal appeals court reinstated the restrictions
, restrictions on abortion providers in Texas, siding with Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott who had asked for an emergency ruling while a lower court ruling was being appealed.
The decision means that during the appeal doctors who perform abortions in Texas will have to get agreements with local hospitals to admit patients under a sweeping new anti-abortion law, according to court documents.
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