Stefanik backs federal ban on most abortions after 15 weeks
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWNY) - North country congresswoman Elise Stefanik was one of more than 80 Republicans to sign on this week to legislation which would ban most abortions nationwide after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Stefanik is a long time opponent of abortion.
Republicans are widely expected to win back control of the House in November.
The proposed 15 week abortion ban comes at a fraught time for Republicans; since the U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier this summer striking down the nationwide right to an abortion, Democrats have increasingly used abortion rights successfully as an issue.
The Supreme Court returned decision-making power over abortion to the states, and many Republicans said they were content with that - a federal law restricting abortion access would have unknown political consequences.
But earlier this week, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham introduced a federal law banning most abortions after 15 weeks. The bill Stefanik is backing is the House version of Graham’s bill.
Graham’s proposal drew what The Hill described as “icy reactions” from fellow Republicans, who don’t want to be talking about abortion in the remaining weeks before the election.
A federal ban on most abortions is exactly what abortion rights supporters fear, and what they believe could mobilize voters.
“Could it be any more contradictory?” said Theresa Barker, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Northern New York.
" ‘We don’t want a nationwide right to abortion because it’s up to the states.’ Now we have those same individuals saying we’re going to do a federal ban so it’s no longer up to the states.”
Many pro-life activists would support a federal law.
“We would look for the state as well as the federal level to protect and promote that sanctity of human life in its legislation,” said Father John Demo, the pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Watertown.
And Stefanik’s opponent in November, Matt Castelli, said her co-sponsorship of the ban shows the Republican party’s true intentions.
“Certainly right now we see the hypocrisy of those who previously said this was a State versus Federal thing, now threatening to use the power of the federal government to take away and erode individual freedoms and liberties even further than they already have been.”
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