ANDERSON – At first glance, Lindsey Graham’s abortion bill almost seems reasonable. The measure calls for a ban on abortions after 15 weeks, but it provides exceptions for pregnancies brought about by rape or incest and for situations in which the mother’s life is in danger.

How you react to such a measure might depend on where you live. Indiana, for example, now bans nearly all abortions. Under a law that took effect Thursday, the state allows the procedure during the first 10 weeks of a pregnancy brought about through rape or incest. It allows a woman up to 20 weeks to end a pregnancy under conditions that threaten her life.

Pro-choice Hoosiers might well support a measure that would ease those restrictions, but Graham’s bill doesn’t do that. The South Carolina senator’s proposal would not affect the more stringent laws already on the books in states across the country, but it would impose restrictions in states where no such limits now exist.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the bill “wildly out of step with what Americans believe.”

“Republicans in Congress are focused on taking rights away from millions of women,” she said. “The president and vice president are fighting for progress, while Republicans are fighting to take us back.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seemed to relish the discord enveloping her colleagues across the aisle. They know they’re digging a hole, she said, “and they just keep digging.” She joked about the ongoing efforts to shrink the amount of time a woman has to consider her options. “There are those in the party that think life begins at the candlelight dinner the night before,” she said.

While Republicans are divided, she said, Democrats are united in their support for a woman’s right to choose.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell shows no interest in a unified message. “I think every Republican senator running this year in these contested races has an answer as to how they feel about the issue,” he said. “I leave it up to our candidates who are quite capable of handling this issue to determine for them what their response is.”

Though Graham insists his bill will get a vote if Republicans take back control of Congress, McConnell isn’t so sure. “I think most of the members of my conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level,” he told reporters.

This approach is called federalism. States set their own tax rates. They set their own speed limits. They allow gambling, or they don’t. They legalize marijuana, or they don’t.

They set their own environmental regulations.

But does it really make sense for the same medical procedure to be called health care in one state and a crime in another? Should a woman’s basic rights really change when she crosses a state line?

Graham says his bill would put U.S. abortion policy in line with other developed nations such as France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark and Spain, but would it really? Do the countries he cites really have abortion restrictions that vary from region to region?

Survey after survey has found that Americans generally support a woman’s right to choose, but they also believe in restrictions. Maybe a woman should have 20 weeks to decide whether to carry a pregnancy to term. Maybe she should have 15. Congress really ought to resolve that issue.

Graham says Democrats have made clear where they stand. They want a bill that would restore the rights that had been guaranteed under Roe vs. Wade. He says his bill offers a chance for Republicans to make a similar statement. “You have states and the ability to do it at the state level, and we have the ability in Washington to speak on this issue if we choose,” he said. “I have chosen to speak.”

You have to give him credit for that. 

Kelly Hawes is a columnist for CNHI News Indiana. He can be reached at kelly.hawes@indianamediagroup.com. Find him on Twitter @Kelly_Hawes.