U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Washington CNN  — 

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday that he will follow precedent for replacing Sen. Dianne Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee if she resigns, signaling a willingness to vote to replace the California Democrat if she left the chamber altogether.

“If she does resign, I would be in the camp of following the precedent of the Senate, replacing the person, consistent with what we have done in the past,” the South Carolina lawmaker told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”

Feinstein was hospitalized in March for shingles and has yet to return to the Senate. She has asked to be “temporarily” replaced on the Senate Judiciary Committee while she is recovering but remains committed to returning to Washington.

Democrats would need 60 votes to replace Feinstein on the panel, but senior Republicans in leadership and on the committee have made clear that they would not give them the votes to do that on a temporary basis.

Senate Republicans blocked an effort last week by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to temporarily replace Feinstein on the Judiciary panel with Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin.

But Graham – who objected to Schumer’s request – signaled Sunday that the situation would be different if Feinstein resigned.

“If she resigned, I would make sure that whatever we did in the past when members resigned would be followed,” he said.

“As to Sen. Feinstein, she is a wonderful person. She’s been a very effective senator. I hope she comes back,” the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee added.

Feinstein is facing calls to resign from at least two House Democrats, though most congressional Democrats have remained largely supportive of her decision to remain in office while absent from the Capitol.

More than 60 progressive organizations across California signed a letter Friday calling for Feinstein’s resignation.

“For three decades, 39 million Californians counted on you to be our hardworking voice in Washington, day in and day out. We still need a daily voice, now more than ever,” the letter stated. ” We respectfully ask you to give one more gift of service to our great state by fully stepping back to allow a new appointee to carry forth and extend your legacy.”

Abortion regulation

On the issue of abortion, Graham would not say Sunday whether he believes the procedure should be regulated at the state or federal level.

“It’s a human rights issue, does it really matter where you’re conceived?,” Graham said. He added later: “I welcome this debate. I think the Republican Party will be in good standing to oppose late-term abortion.”

Graham’s comments highlight the difficulty that Republicans have had navigating the abortion issue. The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade last year has energized Democrats, with voters across the country rejecting ballot efforts to restrict abortion at the state level. The South Carolina senator introduced a bill in September that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

“Here’s what I believe, that anybody running for president who has a snowball’s chance in hell in the 2024 primary is going to be with me, the American people, and all of Europe, saying late-term abortions should be off the table,” Graham, who has endorsed former President Donald Trump’s reelection bid, said Sunday. “I am confident, over time, that’s where our nominee will be.”

The issue of abortion has continued to reverberate across the political landscape. The Supreme Court on Friday protected access to a widely used abortion drug as appeals play out by freezing lower-court rulings that had placed restrictions on its usage.

Meanwhile, Graham, who recently traveled to the Middle East, said Sunday that he saw dramatic change while on the ground in Saudi Arabia.

“The biggest prize, for lack of a better word, would be to get Saudi Arabia to recognize Israel and vice versa. And the Biden administration is trying to do that. And I want to help them. I think the Biden administration is right to want a normalize relationship with Saudi Arabia, based on the changes I see,” he said.

CNN’s Laura Studley contributed to this report.