Sen Lindsey Graham’s latest comments on his proposed national law banning abortion after 15 weeks will do little to dispel accusations of hypocrisy from his critics.
The South Carolina senator went on Fox News to discuss his proposal, which forbids the practice of abortion just into the second trimester except in cases of rape, incest and when necessary to protect the life of the mother. But Mr Graham has been hammered by not just Democrats but his fellow Republicans as well over why he suddenly believes abortion rights should be legislated at the federal level when he was clearly opposed to that idea just a few weeks ago.
Fox News offered the senator a softball question on the issue during his appearance Tuesday on Fox & Friends, with a co-host telling Mr Graham that “there are a lot of Republicans who believe in federalism” and evading the clear U-turn the senator himself had personally made on the issue.
“This is not a states’ rights issue,” Mr Graham responded.
That comment pretty directly contradicts a now-famous statement from the senator just last month during an interview with CNN, in which he declared that he had been “consistent” on the issue being one that should be decided by state governments.
Lindsey Graham on August 7: “I've been consistent. I think states should decide the issue of marriage and states should decide the issue of abortion.”
Lindsey Graham on Sept 20: “This is not a states’ rights issue.” pic.twitter.com/HdVwn9onC4
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 20, 2022
"I've been consistent. I think states should decide the issue of marriage and states should decide the issue of abortion," said Mr Graham on CNN’s State of the Union.
His August remark has been pilloried by critics including White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre as Mr Graham’s fellow Republicans run from his proposed bill at full speed.
Karine Jean-Pierre: "I'm going to quote Lindsey Graham from August 7, 2022, and he said, 'I've been consistent. I think states should decide the issue of marriage and states should decide the issue of abortion.' That's from his own mouth and now he wants to do a national ban." pic.twitter.com/V9W7nWXvVF
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 13, 2022
Some critics of Mr Graham’s bill have noted that the legislation somewhat perversely maintains a sense of federalism in that it allows Republican-led states to pursue even more restrictive bans on abortion while forcing states with more liberal populations to adhere to a conservative’s standard of what abortion rights should be.
Mr Graham’s colleagues in the GOP caucus have evidently been more sensitive to the idea of appearing hypocritical on the issue of abortion rights and have not come out in support of the legislation despite the senator’s vow that it would get a vote should Republicans take the Senate in November.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to rule out the idea of the caucus as a whole supporting Mr Graham’s bill at a news conference where he said that most GOP senators remained of the mind that abortion rights should be handled by states.
Mr Graham’s latest comments earned him a swift rebuke online, with many Twitter users pointing out his change of tune.
The GOP’s affinity for “states’ rights” is about as strong as its adherence to fiscal responsibility: non-existent, for chyrons and bumper stickers only. https://t.co/yWS1ysx3yO
— Matt Rogers 🎃 (@Politidope) September 20, 2022
Lindsey Graham, a consistently inconsistent misogynist https://t.co/er9r4n1zZf
— Mike P Williams (@Mike_P_Williams) September 20, 2022