- In the wake of Roe v. Wade’s overturning in June 2022, both Democrats and Republicans are facing pressure to express specifically which abortion policies they support.
- Republican lawmakers have introduced abortion limits at 15 weeks at the federal level and six weeks or earlier at the state level, while Democrats have largely refused to state whether they support any restrictions on abortion at any stage of pregnancy.
- “Make no mistake: our Senate Majority will fight every single attack on abortion rights,” Senate Minority Leader Schumer recently wrote.
Democrats and Republicans have pushed legislation at the federal and state levels, expanding and restricting legal abortion, respectively, amid increased public pressure following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
In the post-Roe political landscape, Republican lawmakers have introduced and passed legislation limiting abortion at 15 weeks, six weeks and at fertilization with varying degrees of success, while Democratic lawmakers have pushed for expanded abortion access and largely refused to say whether they would support any restrictions on abortion even in the latest stages of pregnancy.
A dozen red states have banned most abortions from the point of fertilization, while three states implemented six week bans (including Georgia, though that law has been blocked in court) and two states ban abortion at 15 weeks, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced a 15 week federal limit on abortions in September, exposing a rift in the party; several prominent Republicans including Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell opposed the bill, arguing the issue should be left to the states.
“Our legislation, which bans abortion after 15 weeks gestation, will put the United States abortion policy in line with other developed nations such as France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, and other European nations,” Graham said in a statement at the time of the bill’s introduction.
Meanwhile, nearly every Democrat in the Senate voted in May 2022 to advance legislation that would have created a right to abortions before viability, which is generally defined at around six months, and effectively barred states from outlawing abortion even in the third trimester if a health care worker says the pregnancy is bad for the mother’s mental or physical health.
Some pro-life advocates have said Republicans who were shy about the abortion issue performed worse in the midterms than those who expressed vocal support for abortion limits.
“When voters understand that the Democratic Party ignores science and stands for abortion on demand up until birth and even infanticide, paid for by taxpayers, they reject that radical agenda,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Democrats admit that when the terms of the debate are centered around the humanity of the unborn child, they lose. Unfortunately too many GOP candidates in the midterm elections adopted the ‘ostrich strategy’ and failed to use contrast to their advantage, and they paid a price.”
Democrats, on the other hand, view the push for unrestricted abortion as a winning strategy.
“The people do not support the Supreme Court’s radical decision in Dobbs, and they have rejected extremist Republican politicians who want to further criminalize abortion nationwide,” Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley wrote on Jan. 25. “Taking action to expand abortion rights falls in line with our nation’s values of personal freedom, privacy, and dignity for all people.”
“Fully restoring reproductive freedom, especially for our most vulnerable and for those in states that have banned abortion, will take larger, structural changes to our political system — including abolishing the filibuster and expanding the Supreme Court,” she said.
At the state level, Democrats have continued to promote abortion; California established a right to abortion in its state constitution through a November ballot measure, while Michigan established the same right in December. Democrats in Washington state and Maryland plan to pass a similar measure in the coming year, and Democratic Maryland Gov. Wes Moore approved $3.5 million in state money to fund abortion training programs the day after he was sworn into office.
WATCH: Pennsylvania’s Lt. Gov John Fetterman says he wants to eliminate the filibuster to “codify” abortion without any limits.
“I don’t believe [there should be any limits to abortion]” pic.twitter.com/4QYTualTN6
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) April 26, 2022
President Joe Biden called the overturning of Roe a “tragic error,” and has called for the codification of Roe v. Wade into federal law. He signed an abortion-related executive order in July 2022 which, among other things, directed Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to “take additional action to protect and expand access to abortion care, including access to medication that the FDA approved as safe and effective over twenty years ago.”
Democrats in Congress have fought against legislation banning infanticide and requiring medical care for babies; nearly every Democrat in the House of Representatives voted against legislation requiring health care professionals to provide necessary care to infants born alive after failed abortions and barring the deliberate killing of babies who survive botched abortion in January.
“The left is unhinged in a post-Roe America because they didn’t expect the Supreme Court to overturn Roe, which they’ve hidden behind for decades. For the first time in 50 years, Democrats have to justify abortion for up to 40 weeks while ignoring science and the legal precedent that protects unborn children,” 40 Days for Life President Shawn Carney, told the DCNF.
Democrats focused heavily on abortion in the lead up to 2022 midterm elections, spending 45% of their TV ad money on the abortion issue for gubernatorial races in Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania. Several prominent Democrats including Biden have refused to state whether they support any restrictions on abortion at any point in pregnancy.
The Republican National Committee, the Democratic National Committee and the White House did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.
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