On the Pro-Life Senate Bill and ‘Late Term’ Abortion

Published September 13, 2022

National Review Online

Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) has just introduced a bill that would protect unborn children from abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. In recent months, polls have found that either a majority or plurality of Americans supports such legislation.

The response from abortion supporters to the bill has been . . . predictable. There’s a substantial cohort claiming the bill proves that pro-life opposition to Roe v. Wade was “never about states’ rights,” as though support for a federal pro-life law somehow negates the constitutional argument against Roe.

Then there are those suggesting that abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy aren’t actually “late term” abortions:

Never mind that, in other contexts, these very same progressives are quick to emphasize that more than 90 percent of abortions take place in the first few months of pregnancy, making the rest very much “late term” by comparison.

There are two things worth noting about Hayes’s comment, which is quickly becoming the main pro-abortion narrative forming around the Graham bill.

First, abortions after 15 weeks could only be characterized as something other than “late term” by people who support legal elective abortion until the moment of birth. In a follow-up tweet, Hayes noted:

In other words: Of course 15 weeks doesn’t seem especially “late term” when one is of the mindset that all 40 weeks are fair game for killing your unborn child.

Second, it’s telling that the first response to the Graham bill has been to shift the debate to the playing field of linguistics. It matters very little, in the end, whether one considers abortion after 15 weeks to be “late term.” It matters very little which term Lindsey Graham or Chris Hayes would prefer to use to describe that practice.

What matters, in the end, is what happens in an abortion procedure, and whether we believe that act should be legally permissible. Hayes and his fellow supporters of legal abortion would prefer not to have that debate, because their perspective on the matter makes normal Americans shudder.

The past three months since Roe was overturned have featured abortion supporters attempting to turn the abortion debate into a debate over whether pregnant mothers can obtain emergency health care, a topic that is, at best, tangentially related to the debate over whether it should be legal to kill unborn children. It’s little surprise that their first response to this legislation hasn’t been to articulate their own policy preferences but rather has featured further efforts to change the subject.

EPPC Fellow Alexandra DeSanctis writes on culture and family issues, with a particular focus on abortion policy and pro-life advocacy, as a member of the Life and Family Initiative.

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