Potential Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham spoke at the Family Research Council's "ProLifeCon" and urged conservatives to help him find a "way out of this definitional problem with rape," Right Wing Watch's Miranda Blue reports.
Sen. Graham admitted that those who oppose all exceptions to abortion -- including Pope Francis -- are "intellectually consistent and honest," because "the baby is the baby," but argued that banning access to abortions for rape victims is a political non-starter.
"Some of us who have these exceptions do so in a democratic society believing that there are some places we will not go," he said.
"But don't let that become the issue," he implored the crowd. "That is a disagreement that overshadows, at times, the commonality" of those who oppose legalized abortion.
"I hope and pray," Graham continued, "that we can find a way to overcome the current conflict about definitions. If we do not -- shame on us all because this is a debate worth having. We will win, if we can focus on the baby at 20 weeks."
"I'm going to do more than bring my bill up -- I'm going to need your help to find a way out of this definitional problem with rape."
"The rape exception will be part of the bill -- that's the Hyde position -- we just need to find a way to get ourselves into a spot where we're debating what a 'legitimate rape' is," he said, referencing the unfortunate phrasing of the former GOP Senate candidate from Missouri Todd Akin.
Late last year, Missouri State Representative Rick Brattin also used that phrasing after he filed a bill that would outlaw abortions in all cases but those of "legitimate rape."
Graham does not believe this to be an effective rhetorical strategy. "We're not here to talk about 'legitimate rape,'" he said. "We're here to talk about saving babies at 20 weeks."
Watch Graham speak about "the current conflict over definitions" below via Right Wing Watch.