Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks during a news conference to discuss the introduction of his abortion bill on September 13, 2022.

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Good luck trying to keep on top of the fight for abortion rights in the US. It’s everywhere, all over the map, and it’s all happening right now.

  • West Virginia passed a near-total abortion ban Tuesday that now heads to the governor.
  • Indiana’s near-total abortion ban will go into effect later this week.
  • It was Republicans filibustering a near-total abortion ban in South Carolina last week.
  • Voters in multiple states across the country will have their say on abortion rights amendments in November.
  • Blue states, meanwhile, are organizing ad campaigns to invite people from outside the state to come there for medical care. California on Tuesday launched a website for this purpose:

Proposals in Congress that go in opposite directions

A GOP proposal, introduced Tuesday by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, would impose a national abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for rape or incest or to protect the life of the mother.

Graham noted the proposal would put the US in line with many European countries. The big difference is US states would still be able to impose stricter abortion bans like those going into effect in multiple states.

Graham’s bill is meant to counter a bipartisan proposal introduced in the Senate last month that would bring back the Roe v. Wade standard of fetal viability.

Republicans who hope to take control of the House and Senate are fearful that the issue could turn public opinion against them and are hoping that Graham’s proposal will offer abortion rights opponents something to support in November.

There is a sort of balance here, because neither a proposal to legalize abortion nor one to ban it has much chance of gaining the supermajority of 60 votes needed to become law, since the Senate is beholden to the filibuster. Anger at the Supreme Court for taking away the right American women had for nearly 50 years is more likely to motivate voters in November’s midterm elections.

Interactive map: See where abortion is banned – and where it’s still in limbo

The immediate fight – and the real maze of access – is at the state level, including with near-total abortion bans

West Virginia lawmakers pass abortion ban. The state’s two legislative chambers passed a ban that offers exceptions to victims of rape and incest, but only within eight weeks of pregnancy for adults and 14 weeks for minors, and only if the crimes are reported to law enforcement.

A near-total abortion ban goes into effect in Indiana on Thursday. Indiana was the first state in August to pass such a restrictive law since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Other bans were triggered by the court’s decision.

Indiana’s new law includes exceptions for saving the life of the mother and for fatal fetal anomalies up to 20 weeks post-fertilization, and it allows exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape and incest.

A filibuster by Republicans to protect the absolute minimum abortion rights in South Carolina. It was a few Republicans, including all three of the chamber’s female GOP members, who shut down a near-total abortion ban proposal in South Carolina last week. Read the story by CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi, Andi Babineau and Jon Passantino.

A six-week abortion ban had earlier passed in the state, but is the subject of a court fight, so a 20-week ban is currently in effect there.

The CNN report included this quote from a Republican lawmaker in the state who was among the few that blocked the near-total ban pushed by her colleagues:

“If you want to believe that God is wanting you to push a bill through with no exception that kills mothers and ruins the lives of children, lets mothers bring home babies to bury them, then I think you’re miscommunicating with God or maybe you’re just not communicating with him at all,” Republican Sen. Katrina Shealy said Wednesday in a fiery speech on the Senate floor directed toward her male colleagues.

“I know we disagree on a lot of issues, but hearing you talk about menstrual cycles, conception, how you know when your egg is fertilized or having a baby, I got to tell you it really disgusts me.”

A vote is coming in Michigan. Voters will get their say in November. A Michigan state judge threw out a 1931 abortion ban as unconstitutional last week. The state Supreme Court then ordered that a citizen-initiative ballot measure to enshrine abortion rights appear on the ballot there in November.

Proposal 3 would establish an “individual right to reproductive freedom, including right to make and carry out all decisions about pregnancy.” Read more from Stracqualursi, who is on top of these developments for CNN.

On the ballot in five states. Michigan is not the only state with an abortion rights-related amendment on the ballot in November:

  • California and Vermont will also give voters the option of creating a constitutional right to abortion.
  • Kentucky voters will be asked to clarify the state constitution does not create a right to an abortion (Kansas voters rejected this type of amendment in August).
  • Montana voters will be asked to impose criminal penalties on health care providers who do not act to preserve the life of infants born during the course of an abortion.

Read the full rundown on November amendments, again from Stracqualursi.

Democrats are banking on the issue to turn out voters in November

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is one of the many Democrats hoping the issue of abortion rights can help her overcome frustration with the economy and inflation, as CNN’s Dana Bash and Abbie Sharpe found on a trip to the state.

It’s a similar story in Pennsylvania, where CNN’s Gregory Krieg found the Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman trying to appeal to women in the suburbs.

“Women are the reason we can win,” Fetterman said. “Don’t piss women off.” Read more on Fetterman’s abortion rights push.

Supreme Court underground

While the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade redrew the political landscape this year, the court’s conservative bloc has mostly stayed out of view, CNN’s Supreme Court expert Joan Biskupic writes.

From her report:

There is no ignoring that the public has found it increasingly difficult to think of life-appointed federal judges as neutral decision-makers.

Yet the Supreme Court’s conservative majority has largely responded with distance and denial. In the weeks since their contentious late June decisions, the justices have demonstrated a lack of awareness about the public concern and appeared even more disconnected, gravitating to like-minded audiences and speaking at closed venues.

She quotes Chief Justice John Roberts from an appearance in Colorado Springs:

“If the court doesn’t retain its legitimate function of interpreting the Constitution,” he said. “I’m not sure who would take up that mantle. You don’t want the political branches telling you what the law is, and you don’t want public opinion to be the guide of what the appropriate decision is.”

Biskupic adds that Roberts “arguably misses the point that emerges in public responses: that the court appears to be abandoning its constitutional role, in favor of one indistinguishable from the political branches.”