I am so confused.
Republicans consistently have said that, with Roe v. Wade now atop the ash heap of history, abortion policy would shift to America’s 50 state capitals. Each laboratory of democracy would render itself pro-choice, pro-life, or something in between.
Albany could keep abortions as abundant as songs on Broadway. Austin could make them as rare as snowy peaks in the Permian Basin. Lawmakers, likewise, would fashion 48 other distinct approaches, from coast to coast.
Now comes Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–S.C.) with a bill to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks. Washington, once again, would be the font of all wisdom on this issue. So let it be written. So let it be done.
At worst, Graham turbocharges suspicions that Republicans never really meant to return abortion to the states and, instead, lust to impose national abortion policy from the Potomac.
Whatever the merits of limiting abortion rights to 105 days, Graham did not evolve into this position over several years. D.C. knows best, and we will tell the states what to do is 180 degrees opposite the mantra that Graham and the GOP have chanted like monks since Dobbs v. Jackson and, frankly, for the last 49 years since Roe.
Indeed, just last August 7, Graham said, “states should decide the issue of abortion.” He must have taken high-speed U-turn lessons from a Hollywood stunt driver.
Graham’s timing is equally impeccable. He is playing exquisitely into the hands of Democrats who say, “Republicans want to abort a woman’s right to choose.”
At least according to Graham, the GOP’s position, “Go talk to your state senator,” has reversed itself, at light speed. It now should be “Go talk to your U.S. senator.” Graham’s message dovetails perfectly with the Left’s chief talking point: “Make sure that your U.S. senator is a Democrat.”
Graham’s strategy might make sense had he devised a way to divide Democrats on their signature issue. Dobbs notwithstanding, had Graham proposed a federal ban on abortions after a mother’s water broke, he would have forced Democrats to say whether they finally would protect a baby from being killed once its mom entered labor. Even pro-choice GOP senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska might agree, which would unite Republicans around such legislation.
Meanwhile, Democrats would squirm: Either accept this modest limit on “a woman’s right to choose” or insist that abortion remain sacrosanct until the baby naps in its mother’s arms.
As George Neumayr observed, “the extremism of Democrats on the issue” precludes them from supporting Graham’s far more ambitious restrictions. The result: An uncracked Democrat wall and GOPandemonium.
At best, Graham has created a massive headache for Republican candidates who will be hounded for the next 51 days about abortion in general and a 15-week ban in particular. This will distract them from promoting conservative solutions to the Biden Democrats’ high-inflation, crime-surge, illegal-alien-invasion, energy-shortage, and classroom-radicalism crises.
At worst, Graham turbocharges suspicions that Republicans never really meant to return abortion to the states and, instead, lust to impose national abortion policy from the Potomac. Since abortion is murder, perhaps this should be the Republican position. Letting some states save babies while others kill them is as evil as allowing some states to liberate slaves while others lash them.
If Republicans now favor a Washington-centric posture on abortion that resembles national law on slavery and segregation, fine. But then Republicans should have said so all along.
Instead, Graham seized America’s most volatile issue, which had cooled slightly since the Left’s volcanic reaction to the June 24 Dobbs decision. Then, with no evident concern about Republicans’ midterm prospects, Graham converted abortion into a landmine, called a press conference, and jumped onto it in ski boots.
Graham unveiled his bill just as Biden endured the most severe stock-market implosion of his presidency. As Biden threw a White House lawn party to cheer the Democrats’ sarcastically titled Inflation Reduction Act, financial markets sank.
After a worse-than-expected, 8.3 percent year-on-year inflation report, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 1,276 points. This 3.9 percent slide was its worst since June 2020 and the seventh steepest in history.
But Biden’s dreadful news soon got sidetracked.
Tuesday’s “plunge of markets seemed to ensure a painful head-meets-wall day inside the White House,” Politico explained. “And then, Sen. Lindsey Graham offered an unexpected soft landing. The South Carolina Republican’s 15-week national abortion ban immediately diverted and divided Republicans and left Biden’s aides shocked at the political lifeline they’d just been handed.”
One pro-Biden official told Politico: “Dems might need to send gift baskets and champagne to Graham and other Republicans for their selfless act of service today.” This unfolded so well for Democrats that White House aides “began to imagine holding onto both houses of Congress.”
Lindsey Graham may have committed the greatest unforced error in public affairs since Archduke Franz Ferdinand toured Sarajevo in a convertible.
Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor Deroy Murdock is a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.