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As Indiana passes abortion ban, some South Carolina Republicans pause on the point of tightening legal guidelines


For the previous three a long time, South Carolina lawmakers have chipped away at abortion entry, requiring ultrasounds, parental consent and 24-hour ready intervals, and banning the process early within the being pregnant: first after 20 weeks, then after six.

However now that the U.S. Supreme Court docket has cleared a path to ban abortion completely within the state, some are taking a step again. Politicians, principally Republican, are noting what occurred this month in Kansas, the place almost 60% of voters rejected a poll measure that may have allowed the state’s conservative Legislature to ban abortion. Republican Donald Trump acquired 56% of the 2020 presidential vote in Kansas. Trump gained 55% in South Carolina.

“The Kansas vote affirms what most of us know,” mentioned Sen. Sandy Senn, the one Republican senator to vote in opposition to the six-week abortion ban that handed 18 months in the past. “It is the folks in my get together, most all of them males, yelling the loudest that girls ought to have zero selection from the second of conception.”

Senn says that whereas she personally believes “all infants must be born,” she additionally thinks folks ought to have the ability to resolve for themselves whether or not to proceed a being pregnant through the first few months.

South Carolina lawmakers are additionally watching different Republican-dominated legislatures. Indiana handed a virtually complete abortion ban Friday after a number of days of debate, whereas West Virginia’s Home and Senate could not instantly agree on additional restrictions.

A complete abortion ban with exceptions provided that the lifetime of the mom is in peril has simply began its approach by way of the South Carolina Basic Meeting. Committee hearings and flooring debates within the Home and Senate should happen earlier than any invoice lands on Republican Gov. Henry McMaster’s desk.

Republican legislative leaders agreed to the particular session after the U.S. Supreme Court docket overturned Roe v. Wade in June. However as a substitute of a rehash of the arguments lawmakers had in early 2021, after they handed a ban on abortions after cardiac exercise is detected — at about six weeks — some Republicans have begun to reevaluate their positions.

“It is like you’re enjoying with stay ammunition proper now. What you’re deciding goes to have fast impact on numerous South Carolinians,” mentioned Republican Rep. Tom Davis, who voted for the cardiac-activity abortion ban final yr after exceptions have been added for pregnancies brought on by rape and incest and those who put the pregnant individual’s life in danger.

Davis mentioned he’s now rethinking the entire situation, weighing the rights of a fetus to stay in opposition to the rights of somebody to manage their very own physique.

He says he additionally will take into account the views of individuals in his well-off coastal district round Hilton Head Island. And he plans to introduce measures to enhance prenatal care and provides folks extra emotional and monetary assist throughout and after pregnancies.

Rep. Invoice Taylor stood simply behind McMaster as he signed the six-week ban into legislation. Final month he despatched an e mail to his constituents with the all-caps title “WHAT’S THE RUSH,” saying South Carolina should not hurry to cross a full ban now.

As a substitute, the state ought to step again for a couple of years to see how its new legislation banning the process after six weeks works, the Republican lawmaker mentioned. South Carolina also needs to study what occurs in states that now have a complete ban and others that enable abortions later into pregnancies and examine the foster care and different social service packages to see what may be accomplished to assist them deal with an inflow of births, he mentioned. About 6,300 abortions have been carried out in South Carolina in 2021.

“So many questions, so few solutions, and options,” Taylor wrote within the e mail, which additionally included the assertion: “I treasure God’s wonderful reward of life. I readily settle for the label pro-life.”

One purpose some abortion opponents do not wish to wait to cross a stricter abortion ban is McMaster, who’s up for reelection in November. His Democratic opponent, Joe Cunningham, has promised to veto any invoice limiting abortion additional. Republicans are a couple of votes wanting the two-thirds wanted to override vetoes in each the Home and Senate.

Abortion opponents have adopted an extended path to get South Carolina the place it’s. Lawmakers first rallied in a major approach within the late Nineteen Eighties, then ramped up their actions even additional within the following a long time.

In 1990, they handed a invoice requiring the consent of both a father or mother or decide earlier than a minor might have an abortion. In 1994, they enacted strict necessities for abortion clinics. And in 1997, they handed a legislation banning partial delivery abortions, that are uncommon.

In 2008, a legislation required moms to signal a type that they have been instructed they might take a look at an ultrasound earlier than an abortion and in 2010, a 24-hour ready interval was handed. A ban on abortion after 20 weeks, which proponents say is the purpose {that a} fetus can really feel ache, handed in 2018. Previous to its June ruling, the Supreme Court docket had by no means allowed states to ban abortion earlier than the purpose at roughly 24 weeks when a fetus can survive exterior the womb.

Republican Sen. Larry Grooms, who has made ending abortion one of many largest problems with his 25 years within the Senate, mentioned he desires a full ban as a result of his objective is to “save each life he can” — however he is not going to demand a sure invoice as a result of “if you make all of it or nothing, you may find yourself with nothing.”

“Each pro-life invoice we have handed over the previous 25 years has helped folks perceive the humanity of the kid,” Grooms mentioned.

Democrats within the legislature say it is too late for reflection, given the Supreme Court docket’s determination and the truth that the state has already restricted abortion so severely. They concern something is on the desk, together with criminalizing ladies who search abortions not directly.

“I feel we’ll land between loopy and insane,” Democratic Home Minority Chief Todd Rutherford mentioned. “The place that line is will not make any sense. And we should not be on this place within the first place.”



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