By Ferdous Al-Faruque - 05/13/14 01:43 PM EDT
Abortion rights activists went on a full-court press Tuesday against a bill from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that would ban abortions after 20 weeks, except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life is at stake.
Graham, who is trying to shore up support from the conservative base as he runs for reelection, has scheduled a press conference for Tuesday with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to pressure Democrats into allowing a vote on the bill.
Groups on the left made a preemptive strike against the legislation on Tuesday morning, as Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the National Organization for Women (NOW) all issued statements attacking it.
The Center for Reproductive Rights accused Graham of playing politics with women’s health by pushing the bill as a counter to legislation from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) that would limit lawmakers from infringing on reproductive rights.
Terry O'Neill, president of NOW called Graham's bill, “misogynistic and woman-hating, plain and simple.”
Countering the abortion-rights groups, Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List launched their own campaign behind the bill Tuesday while noting the one-year anniversary of physician Kermit Gosnell's conviction for three counts of murder for botched late-term abortions.
“A federal law is long overdue,” said SBA-List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “The United States is only one of seven countries to allow abortion on demand at such a late stage of pregnancy.”
Graham’s legislation has 40 co-sponsors and is similar to another abortion bill from Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) that the House passed last summer. Supporters of the 20-week ban cite research that they say shows fetuses can feel pain at that point in their development.
Thirteen states have already enacted similar 20-week abortion bans according to SBA-List.