Major changes to South Carolina’s abortion laws are unlikely after the Supreme Court’s decision


Conservative lawmakers in South Carolina voted Tuesday not to make the changes in the state abortion laws following a US Supreme Court decision this summer, meaning abortion rules are unlikely to be tightened further.

South Carolina was at the forefront of passing more restrictive abortion laws that challenged Roe v. Wade for decades before the landmark case was overturned this summer.

But the state that helped lead the nation by requiring ultrasounds parental consent and 24-hour waiting periods over abortions is deadlocked during a special session. The Senate could only muster enough votes to tweak South Carolina’s current six-week ban — which isn’t even valid at this point due to a state Supreme Court challenge.

The House began its session Tuesday by rejecting Democratic Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter’s proposal to put the right to abortion to voters in a constitutional amendment.

“Why are you afraid to let people decide?” Cobb-Hunter asked. “Are you afraid of being proven wrong? I think so.”

Rejecting the Senate version allows a group of three lawmakers from each chamber to work on a compromise between the Senate bill and the House version, which banned nearly all abortions except for pregnancies caused by rape or incest or life-threatening to the mother within 12 weeks of conception.

But Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey isn’t sure there’s room for negotiation.

The Republican said senators showed earlier this month that there aren’t enough votes in the 46-member chamber for a ban sooner than six weeks away. Three women in the Senate joined two other Republicans in opposing a near-total abortion ban, leaving the House short of the votes needed to end the would-be bully.

The charge before the House maintains a ban on abortion after an ultrasound detects heart activity in the fetus, which is usually around six weeks. It reduces the time that rape and incest victims who become pregnant can request an abortion from 20 weeks to about 12 weeks, and requires DNA from the aborted fetus to be collected for police in those situations. It also clarifies protections for doctors who order an abortion if it is determined that the fetus cannot live outside the womb.

For lawmakers and groups that have pushed for decades to end all abortions, it’s a frustrating end to what looked like so much promise after leaders of the Republican-controlled General Assembly quickly called a special session once a draft opinion leaked out that the U.S. Supreme Court was prepared to let states , to make their own decisions on the issue of abortion.

“I can’t agree to a bill that does nothing. We weren’t called back to pass the law we already have — we were called to rewrite our state’s laws,” said Rep. John McCravy, a Republican who put the bill together. House’s account.

McCravy said he plans to join about a dozen other most conservative members of the House who agree that the Senate proposal is unacceptable to their pledge to protect all life. Almost all 43 Democrats in the 124-member chamber also oppose the proposal, but for entirely different reasons.

Meanwhile, the South Carolina Supreme Court has stayed enforcement of the state’s six-week ban until it can decide whether it violates the state’s constitutional guarantee of the right to privacy, leaving the 20-week ban passed in 2016 as current law.

In the debate, Republicans fire at each other. McCravy called Sen. Tom Davis, who has taken on would-be pirate leadership, the “Bully of Beaufort,” saying his vision for South Carolina is to “force teachers to tell 13-year-olds they can get free birth control without their parents knowing.” and killing at least 2,000 babies a year in the womb.”

Davis said that greatly and unfairly misrepresents his positions, and he thinks that if Republicans are going to push for abortion restrictions, they should also improve access to birth control, prenatal care and educational opportunities for children.

Davis was joined in the Senate by the chamber’s three Republican women. They said the ban on nearly all abortions went too far, and were particularly upset that the House bill originally contained no exceptions for rape or incest.

“Pregnant with a dead child? It’s a shame. Raped at 11 by your grandfather and getting pregnant? That’s just a shame,” Sen. Penry Gustafson said earlier this month.

In response, the South Carolina Freedom Caucus, which includes about a dozen of the most conservative members of the House of Representatives, released a letter last week from two of its members saying they “mean it when we say we’re pro-life.”

The letter stated that there are so few abortions after rape and incest that they do not matter.

“Allowing the murder of a living being based on situations that practically never occur is unacceptable to us,” he said letter Ashley Trantham and Melissa Oremus, who promised that all 13 members of the group would vote against the bill.



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