By Alexander Bolton - 05/13/14 04:11 PM EDT
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who are both facing primaries in the next month, on Tuesday called for legislation banning abortion after 20 weeks.
In a press conference with anti-abortion activists, the lawmakers called for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to schedule a vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
The only other nations that allow the procedures, he said, are China, North Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Canada and the Netherlands.
The call to action came on the one-year anniversary of Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s conviction on murder charges stemming from three botched abortions. Graham faulted the national media for paying little attention to the gruesome details of Gosnell’s abortion clinic in West Philadelphia.
McConnell’s presence at the event signals the legislation is a high priority for the Republican leader and likely to receive a floor vote if Republicans take over the Senate in 2015.
"Regardless of where you stand on the broader issue, we should all agree that unborn children should be protected at least from the point that they’re capable of feeling pain," McConnell said.
Their push for the bill could help them woo conservative voters as they try to fend off Tea Party-backed challengers. McConnell’s primary is on May 20 and Graham’s is on June 10.
Activists with the Susan B. Anthony List, National Right to Life, Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council, the Catholic Association and Americans United for Life attended the event.
“According to WebMD, at 20 weeks the unborn child in the womb measures about 5 to 6 inches and weighs about 9 ounces. The baby can hear sounds — including his mother’s voice, heart and even her growling stomach if she is hungry,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.
Graham introduced this bill on Nov. 7 and said McConnell was one of the first co-sponsors. Thirty-nine other Senate Republicans have endorsed the bill.
Reid, a self-described pro-life Democrat, does not support the legislation.