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SC Republicans Continue Abortion Attack

The Republicans are continuing to try to virtually outlaw abortions in the state as Gov. Henry McMaster has called the state legislature back for a special session to work on a bill that would ban most abortions as early as six weeks.

Lawmakers had barely gotten home after the General Assembly adjourned May 11 when they were forced to jump in their cars just five days later, head for Columbia to consider the abortion bill. Also to be considered are enhanced penalties for illegal gun possession, bond reform, and a budget.

Pro-choice advocates have ramped up their efforts to defeat that abortion bill, stressing that six weeks is too early for many women to even know they are pregnant. Further, the implications of such legislation are many, and the impact far-reaching, even discouraging future doctors from working in states with such restrictions.

That so-called “fetal heartbeat” bill had failed to pass previously in part because in impassioned speeches on the Senate floor, the state’s five female senators – three Republicans and two Democrats – led the opposition.

In fact, it was Republican Sen. Sandy Senn who likened the implications of the bill to the dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale,” in which women are treated as property of the state. Senn said the effort was simply a power grab by men. “In the Senate, the males have all the control,” she said.

The bill currently before the state House is S. 474. Reach out to your state House representatives to urge them to oppose this legislation and any other similar ban in the future.

SC Supreme Court

Speaking of power, it is the men who also control the state’s Supreme Court. Here, the state legislature alone selects judges, and now that court is all-male, as the lone female justice, Kaye Hearn, has retired.

Now, South Carolina is the only state without a woman on its Supreme Court. The impact of that on any potential abortion issue remains to be seen.

The Drag Show Fetish

But abortion isn’t the only issue area where Republicans are holding sway in SC.

Across the nation, multiple states are introducing or passing legislation restricting drag show performances, and now South Carolina has jumped on that bandwagon.

The bill is called the Defense of Children’s Innocence Act, and would prohibit children from attending a drag show considered explicit. It also deems any business that holds such a drag show to be a “sexually oriented” business. The bill says a drag show is “intended to provide sexual stimulation or sexual gratification.”

John Dabrowski, the owner of a Pawley’s Island bar called “Local Eat Drink Celebrate, said lawmakers are creating legislation about topics they know nothing about.”

He told the local news media that their drag shows are restricted to customers over 18 and are held in a room in the back of the restaurant. He said all of their queens go upstairs, change into their costumes, and then do their thing. There would be no parading around the shops outside the bar, he assured.

All the funds from the drag shows go towards charity and scholarships for the community, Dabrowski said. So far they’ve raised more than $3,500.

UPDATE 5/18/23 1:17PM

The bill currently before the state Senate is S. 474. Please contact Sens. Greg Hembree and Luke Rankin to urge them to oppose this legislation and any other similar ban in the future. While the House is debating right now, we want to make sure our Senators know that we are against S.474 and the changes that the SC House Republicans have made to the bill.  While this bill has been proposed as a “6-week ban”,  House Republicans have added even more restrictions, essentially making this a total ban on abortion. They are calling this a “6-week ban” while hiding their true intentions—decimating reproductive rights in South Carolina.

Bob Gatty is co-chair of the HCDP Communications Committee.
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