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Nevada Candidates Have Mixed Response to Potential Abortion Ban

Sen. Lindsey Graham’s proposed 15-week abortion ban has received a mixed reaction from candidates for the state’s U.S. senate seat. Sixty-one percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

(TNS) — Candidates vying for Nevada's U.S. Senate seat this November voiced mixed reactions to legislation proposed this week that would effectively ban most abortions nationally, with one vowing to block the bill and another acknowledging it has little chance to become law.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R- S.C., announced Tuesday, he would introduce legislation that would institute a federal ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy in an effort to unite conservatives on the topic ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections. The measure, which would make exceptions in cases of rape, incest or if the mother's life was in danger, was met with a lukewarm reception by other congressional Republicans, some of whom say the issue should be settled at the state level.

Incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said on Twitter she was deeply opposed to the legislation.

"I will block any efforts in the Senate to advance a nationwide abortion ban — full stop," Cortez Masto said. "We don't need any more male politicians telling women what we can and can't do with our own bodies."

The Sun asked a spokesperson for Cortez Masto's campaign for additional comment, but was referred back to the Senator's tweets.

Adam Laxalt, the Republican nominee running against Cortez Masto, had said previously he would support a referendum limiting abortion to the first 13 weeks, according to an Aug. 2 op-ed of his published in the Reno Gazette Journal. In that op-ed, Laxalt wrote that he agreed with the June ruling by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and said he believed abortion regulation should be left to state lawmakers.

Laxalt campaign spokesman Brian Freimuth would not say whether Laxalt, if elected, would vote for Graham's 15-week ban. Instead, Freimuth deferred to Laxalt's op-ed.

"This proposal has no chance to pass Congress and receive President (Joe) Biden's signature," Freimuth said. "The law in Nevada was settled by voters decades ago and isn't going to change. As a pro-life candidate, Adam made his views clear in a recent Reno Gazette Journal column."

The issue of a national ban comes on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court in June reversing the 1973 landmark decision in Roe v. Wade that said women had the constitutional right to an abortion. Graham's proposal were to become law, the federal lawwould supersede Nevada's existing right to access abortion up to 24 weeks into a pregnancy term. As it stands, the Nevada law can only be changed by a majority vote of the state's electorate.

There's virtually zero chance Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D- N.Y., will bring Graham's bill to a vote in the current Congress, as his party has prioritized efforts to preserve abortion rights since the high court's decision in Dobbs vs. the Jackson Women's Health Organization. Graham admitted as much at a news conference Tuesday, but said it "was up to elected officials to define the issue."

"If we ( Republicans in the midterm elections) take back the House and Senate, I can assure you we'll have a vote on our bill," Graham said. "If the Democrats are in charge, I don't know if we'll ever have a vote on our bill."

Even if Republicans retake both chambers of Congress after the midterms, Graham's bill would face near-total opposition from Democrats. And even if it cleared the House and Senate, the bill would almost certainly be vetoed by Biden, who is also a Democrat.

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday declined to support Graham's proposal bill . McConnell had previously stated he and most other Senate Republicans were in favor of letting states set their own regulations on abortion.

"I think every Republican senator running this year in these contested races has an answer as to how they feel about the issue," McConnell said. "I leave it up to our candidates who are quite capable of handling this issue to determine for them what their response is."

Graham's proposal puzzled UNLV political science expert David Damore, who said announcing such a polarizing a bill eight weeks before the midterm elections could energize abortion-rights advocates instead of galvanize anti-abortion conservatives.

"It wasn't smart politics," Damore said of Graham's timing. "I mean, it sounds like Mitch McConnell was kind of caught flat-footed. And they don't have the ability to move it on the agenda anyway. So, you're never going to vote on it, to put people on the record, and you're going to end up essentially getting news stories about how fragmented your party is on those issues."

Even nationally, access to abortion remains a popular position, according to a Pew Research poll published June 13. The poll found 61 percent of American adults said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared to 37 percent who say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. That same poll also found views on abortion access are as partisan as ever.

Graham said he picked 15 weeks because it would more closely align the U.S. with other nations like Germany, Spain and Belgium, all of which have a 14-week limit to perform the procedure.

Graham also claimed that unborn fetuses begin to feel pain around 15 weeks, though that remains scientifically unproven, according to factcheck.org.


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