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U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Tuesday proposed a sweeping federal ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, reigniting a firestorm of debate on the contentious issue ahead of the midterm elections in November. It’s a political flip-flop: After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade federal protection of abortion in June, Graham said the issue should be left to states.

While observers say there is no way the bill will see the light of day before the election, the proposal has split Republicans, apparently stunning some who have had trouble confronting the thorny issue.  According to this CNN analysis, the fight over abortion now is all over the place.

In New Hampshire, for example, conservative Republican Senate candidate Don Bolduc is facing an incumbent Democrat and he is trying to distance himself from Graham’s proposal, according to the Associated Press:  “It doesn’t make sense,” he told Fox News, adding that abortion laws are better left to each individual state. “Women on both sides of the issue will get a better voice at the state level.”

In related news, the S.C. House of Representatives is scheduled to meet Sept. 27 to discuss last week’s Senate changes to another abortion ban. Two weeks ago, the House passed a ban on abortion at all stages of pregnancy with exceptions for the mother’s life and rape or incest up to 12 weeks.

But last week after the Senate couldn’t get support for that measure, it passed a measure that would toughen a current law, which is a six-week ban, based on when cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo, with limited exceptions.

In other headlines: 

Matthews vows to stay in U.S. Senate race.  Two-term Democratic S.C. Rep. Krystle Matthews of Ladson, who is facing calls to withdraw from a bid challenging GOP U.S. Sen. Tim Scott over remarks described as disparaging, says she won’t step away after a leaked recording by a conservative activist group. “I have no biases toward a certain ethnic group,” Matthews said recently. “I expressed my disgust for Black legislators who exhibit the same hypocrisy as MAGA Republicans. This is why I am challenging MAGA’s favorite Black legislator, Tim Scott.” Scott, who has millions of dollars of campaign cash in the bank, said last week that he thought Matthews should apologize, not step away from the race. Meanwhile Sunday, Scott told national reporters that he was excited about GOP Senate candidates across the country as national leaders try to reboot expectations following recent Democratic surges.

Governor, prison director challenge ruling on executions. Gov. Henry McMaster and S.C. Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling this week said they planned to appeal a Richland County judge’s ruling from last week that called the state’s two execution methods — firing squad and electric chair — unconstitutional.

Records show McMaster’s income dropped since he became governor. A review of McMaster’s tax filings shows that he and his wife earned about $352,000 in 2020 — about $200,000 less thanin 2017, which was his first year as governor.

New S.C. House committee to study economic development. South Carolina’s House announced a new ad-hoc committee that will focus on the economic development of the state and how to attract industry.

S.C. House Judiciary chairman says he’s getting help for alcohol abuse. Rep. Chris Murphy, a Dorchester County Republican who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, says he’s getting help for alcohol abuse and hopes to return to the chamber in 2023.

Beach/river sweep is Saturday.  Volunteers across the state will span the coast by boat and by foot Saturday to pick up litter from beaches, debris in marshes or floating trash along waterways. It’s time for the state’s annual Beach Sweep/River Sweep.   Last year, 2,225 volunteers picked up more than 20,000 pounds of debris along beaches and rivers statewide. The event is held in partnership with the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium the state Department of Natural Resources

Crisis call volume up after 988 launch. The volume of calls in S.C. has reached an all-time high after the nation launched the 988 suicide lifeline in July. The Greenville center is now answering calls, texts and chats.

DHEC reports 8,443 new Covid cases, 6 deaths. The latest weekly Covid update shows cases are still dropping in South Carolina.

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