Sen. Marco Rubio is—so far—the only Republican senator up for reelection who has signed on to Sen. Lindsey Graham’s national abortion ban. But there’s a House version of the bill, too, and Rep. Ted Budd, currently running for Senate in North Carolina, is one of that bill’s 84 cosponsors.
Cheri Beasley, Budd’s Democratic opponent, responded quickly. “My opponent Congressman Ted Budd co-sponsored the Republican bill to ban abortion nationwide,” she tweeted, “I was taught that actions speak louder than words – and Budd has shown that he WILL lead the charge to take away our personal freedoms as Senator. Full stop.”
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Abortion is currently legal in North Carolina up to 20 weeks, down from the 24 or so weeks to the point of viability, which was the standard under Roe v. Wade. Graham’s 15-week ban would be a second curtailment of rights in the state.
According to an August poll done for Carolina Forward by Public Policy Polling, 27% of people thought that 20 weeks was “about right,” while 28% of people wanted fewer restrictions and 37% wanted more. That’s 55% of people who prefer something less restrictive than a 15-week ban. Which, again, Rep. Ted Budd, the Republican nominee for Senate in the state, has co-sponsored.
Rubio and Budd are in a position to have quickly gone on the official record in support of a national abortion ban. But every other Republican Senate candidate should be facing questions about what they would do if elected.
In Arizona, Blake Masters already answered the question: “Of course” he would vote for Graham’s national abortion ban. Masters may have already tried to back away from his most extreme abortion positions, but a 15-week federal ban is still within his new faux-moderate persona. Which only goes to show how extreme he really is.
Georgia’s Herschel Walker also came out in support of the national abortion ban, saying, “I believe the issue should be decided at the state level, but I would support this policy.”
Would Don Bolduc, the brand-new far-right nominee in New Hampshire, vote for Graham’s bill if he was elected to the Senate? He’s previously said he wouldn’t “vote contrary to pro-life.”
Would Mehmet Oz, Pennsylvania’s Republican nominee, vote for a national abortion ban? A campaign spokeswoman dodged the question on his behalf, saying, on the one hand, “Dr. Oz is pro-life with three exceptions: life of the mother, rape and incest,” but on the other hand, “And as a senator, he’d want to make sure that the federal government is not involved in interfering with the states’ decisions on the topic.” That’s conspicuously not a no.
What about Nevada’s Adam Laxalt? His campaign hasn't commented. Ohio’s J.D. Vance also seems to have kept his mouth shut on this issue since Graham introduced his bill.
A spokeswoman for Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson gave the top Republican nonanswer, saying, “As the senator has said many times he believes this is a profound moral issue and agrees with the Dobbs decision to allow the democratic process to unfold in each state to determine at what point does society has a responsibility to protect life.” But Johnson is the guy who originally suggested he would support a bill codifying marriage equality, then flipped, so his spokeswoman’s carefully noncommittal implication that he wouldn’t support Graham’s bill is definitely not anything to rely on.
Every one of these people, if elected, might well get a vote on a national abortion ban—they definitely would if Republicans take control of the Senate. And their answers on whether they’d vote for it range from “of course” to dodging to silence. Meanwhile, according to one poll, Americans oppose a 15-week abortion ban by a 27-point margin, 57% to 30%.
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