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Stop SC from Banning Abortions

Abortion rights are now being challenged across the country and in South Carolina, Republicans are intensifying their attack on a woman’s right to choose.

Two devastating bills, S. 907 and S. 988, are quickly moving forward in the state Senate in Columbia. S. 988, would make abortion illegal in South Carolina if Roe v. Wade is overturned. South Carolina Republicans are trying to be proactive with this bill as they don’t want to waste any time banning abortion in our state should SCOTUS overturn that statute.

S.907 targets chemical abortions that commonly are completed safely at home. The bill requires medical professionals to provide unscientific, unethical, medically unproven, and potentially dangerous misinformation to medication abortion patients. The GOP sponsors would require doctors to tell patients their medication abortion can be reversed, a claim that is unproven.

With these two new bills now advancing in the South Carolina Legislature, it is critical for supporters of Freedom of Choice to join with the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network to stop these abortion restrictions. Visit the Network for a quick and easy way urge state lawmakers to oppose those bills.

Deeper Reading

The two bills, passed out of subcommittee January 26, 2022, will soon be coming up for a vote.

SC bill S. 907 would require physicians to inform a woman that a chemically induced abortion could still be reversed even after the administration of the first dose. S. 907 states:

“Research has indicated that the first pill provided, identified as mifepristone, is not always effective in ending a pregnancy. If, after taking the first pill, you would like to change our decision, please consult a physician or health care provider immediately to determine whether there are options available to assist you in continuing your pregnancy. Medication is also available by prescription to help restore progesterone and potentially strengthen the pregnancy if you and your physician make that decision.”

Current South Carolina law requires women to receive state-direct counseling to discourage abortion and makes them wait 24 hours before the procedure can be performed. The passage of S. 907 uses unproven medical information and would force women, who have already completed the mandatory counseling, to re-evaluate their decision under duress in the middle of the procedure. As for the pills not always being effective, that statement is misleading. Chemical abortion depends on how far along the pregnancy is and when the medication is administered. It is considered to be very effective.

SC bill S. 988 is the more draconian of the two bills as it intends to “prohibit the performance or induction of abortions in this state” and “provide penalties for violating the prohibition”. The only exception is if death is imminent for the mother.

Enforcement of the law created by S. 988 will be dependent on the decision made about a Mississippi case escalated to SCOTUS. That case is Thomas E. Dobbs, State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health, et al., Petitioners v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization et al. Mississippi has steadily been passing more and more restrictive abortion laws for over 20 years resulting in the closure of all but one abortion clinic. Their most recent legislation bans abortion after 15 weeks with penalties to physicians who violate the restriction. It also makes it a crime for a physician to provide an abortion once a “heartbeat” is detected. In some cases, this could be six weeks after conception and before a woman may even know she is pregnant.

In 2021 South Carolina Republicans also fast-tracked a “fetal heartbeat” bill, which Gov McMaster proudly signed into law. It was immediately challenged by Planned Parenthood and other groups and a federal judge blocked the new law pending the outcome of the Mississippi case.

If the right to abortion is overturned by that case, South Carolina will immediately enact this ban on abortion. Roe v. Wade not only protects abortion rights, but it is also based on a person’s right to privacy as defined in the Constitution under the Fourteenth Amendment. Eliminating that statute will open the door for state and federal government to interfere with, and potentially control more aspects of people’s lives.

Most importantly, banning abortions doesn’t stop them; it merely regresses us to a time when women unnecessarily risked their lives to undergo dangerous “back alley” abortions.

Support Local Abortion Advocates

A January 26 press release from the Palmetto State Abortion Fund reiterates how dangerous these bills are to the women of South Carolina. They note that S. 988 uses language that “refers to a fertilized egg as a person”. Defining a person as a fertilized egg will significantly affect future use of Intrauterine Devices (IUD) as well as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatments.

An IUD is a contraceptive device designed to prevent a fertilized egg from being implanted into the uterus. IVF treatments use fertilized eggs, which are kept in storage until ready to be implanted. Under this law, the use of an IUD and/or the disposal of fertilized eggs could become a criminal offense as that egg would be considered a “person”. The disposal of them or ejection of it from the body could be interpreted by law as homicide.

“Abortion is healthcare, it’s a medical procedure between a person and their doctor. Politicians ought not to get involved,” said Fund co-founder Ashlyn Preaux. “Our own legislators are up in Columbia right now debating two potential anti-abortion bills, wasting tax dollars, and ignoring the actual problems this state is facing: COVID, infrastructure and our education system.”

Abortion rights supporters need to raise their voices loudly to their representatives in Columbia. The South Carolina Legislature website can help you find the names of your District representative and senator, or you can simply visit the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network and follow the prompts.

Stop the war on a woman’s right to choose now. If we don’t, it will open the door for the GOP to start working on stripping us of other rights as well.

For more information, follow the Palmetto State Abortion Fund on Facebook.   They are also sponsoring a live stream event February 9 at 6:30pm entitled South Carolina, Abortion, Childbirth, & Maternal Mortality through the Grand Strand Action Together (GSAT) Facebook page.

»Help Create An Abortion Fund In South Carolina

The Back Story

The Republican Party has been intent on banning abortion since 1973 when the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) upheld the case of Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal in the United States. That decision affirmed that restrictive state regulations on abortion were unconstitutional as they violate a woman’s Constitutionally protected right to privacy.

When George W. Bush was running for president in 1999, he wanted anti-abortion advocates in his party to try to get public support on banning abortions before trying to outlaw it.

They have never been able to nationally increase support as Gallup polls over the past several decades show American voters have remained steady in supporting abortion rights, although slightly more people support it under certain circumstances than under any circumstance. Those completely against abortion in all cases has remained below 20 percent.

But it’s a different story in South Carolina. The latest Pew Research Center data on abortion views from 2014 shows that 52 percent of adult South Carolinians support making abortion illegal in most or all cases with only 42 percent supporting abortion rights with little or no limitations. This is an upward trend since 2007 when only 46 percent supported completely banning abortion.

Sixty seven percent of those opposed to abortion are Evangelical Protestants. When broken down by age, 27 percent of those 18-29 support an abortion ban compared to 20 percent in the same age range who say it should be legal. Those between 50-64 years of age support abortion rights at a rate of 31 percent versus 23 percent against it in the same age bracket. The remaining age groups are evenly split.

Now, the South Carolina GOP controlled legislature, apparently with the support of the majority in our state, has jumped on the bandwagon and abortion rights are now more seriously threatened than ever. It’s time to #RISEUP! for Choice. We can do this.

V. Susan Hutchinson, of Conway, is a member of HCDP’s Communications Committee.
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