S.C. Senator Lindsey Graham held a hearing Tuesday on his bill to ban abortion nationwide after 20 weeks of pregnancy. He was joined by pro-life activists who spoke in graphic detail about abortion procedures.
But pro-choice supporters were also on hand, including a mother whose child had severe fetal anomalies. Under Graham’s proposal she would have been forced to take the baby to term even though it could not survive.
“This is an emotional issue,” Graham said.
Using graphic language to describe abortion procedures, anti-abortion activists pleaded with lawmakers to take up their cause. And they have a friend in South Carolina Republican Senator Graham.
“I am confident that over time we are going to win this fight,” Graham said. “We are on the right side of history.”
Graham is the sponsor of a bill that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in all 50 states.
He explained, “There’s exceptions for rape and incest. There’s exceptions to save the life of the mother.”
But there is no exception for the health of the fetus. And that motivated mothers to share their stories with the committee.
Valerie Peterson says she was 16 weeks pregnant when she discovered her son had a brain condition
“The condition was 100 percent incompatible with life,” she said. “Typically women won’t learn of these type of conditions until after 20 weeks which is when the ban would start.”
Peterson was able to terminate the pregnancy, but if Graham’s bill becomes law, she says others in her position would be forced to continue.
“I couldn’t imagine having to carry the baby to term.”
When Graham was asked about hearing from mothers who had fetal anomalies during pregnancy and why he did not create an exemption for the health of the fetus, he responded, “That’s a good question. I believe the approach we have taken is sound and we’re going to stick with it. If anyone came to me and said this might change their mind, I might talk to them.”
But the reality in Washington is most minds are made up on this issue. And Senator Graham’s bill does not have the votes to become law in this Congress.