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Mitch McConnell shies away from supporting national abortion ban

Mitch McConnell shies away from supporting national abortion ban

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did not say whether he supports a 15-week federal ban on abortions, with exceptions, but told NBC’s “Meet the Press,” “I don’t think we’ll get 60 votes in the Senate for any kind of national legislation.”

McConnell made clear that he believes it’s an issue that should be decided in each state, telling moderator Kristen Welker, “I’m not advocating anything at this level. I think it’s gonna be sorted out all across the country and be very different in different states.”

Since the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion, states have enacted a patchwork of laws enhancing or eliminating abortion access. 10 states have expanded access to abortion while 14 states have imposed near-total bans, according to an analysis by the pro-abortion rights group Center for Reproductive Rights.

Still, some at the federal level, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have sought to pass national abortion restrictions. In late 2022, after the Dobbs decision, Graham introduced a bill that would federally ban most abortions at 15 weeks.

On Thursday, McConnell framed the proposed legislation as purely political, saying, “I don’t think any federal legislation is likely to get 60 votes in the Senate on any direction.”

He added, “It seems to me views about this issue at the state level vary depending where you are. And we get elected by states. And my members are smart enough to figure out how they want to deal with this very divisive issue based upon the people who actually send them here.”

For the last two years, Democrats have seized on abortion as a campaign issue, tying Republicans to the Supreme Court decision and statewide bans.

Earlier this month, former President Donald Trump tried to neutralize the issue for his presidential campaign, telling reporters in Atlanta that he would not sign a federal abortion ban if it came to his desk as president.

In Thursday’s interview, Welker also asked McConnell about a statement he made in 2022 when he said, “A national ban is possible.”

“I said it was possible. I didn’t say that was my view. I just said it was possible,” McConnell said Thursday.

Alexandra Marquez

Alexandra Marquez is a politics reporter for NBC News.

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