Action Alert: South Carolina & the End of Roe v. Wade

On Monday, an initial draft of the Supreme Court’s majority opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health was leaked to POLITICO. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the draft, and it confirms prevalent rumors that the nation’s highest court intends to strike down Roe v. Wade.

Such leaks are rare, and while this one has been confirmed authentic, it was likely released to pressure the judges in the majority to change their votes. Nonetheless, it’s an encouraging sign. Should the Supreme Court follow through on this initial opinion (remember, it was drafted several months ago), the primary basis for recognizing a national right to abortion would be removed.

Even if that happens, however, abortion would remain legal in South Carolina. Unlike many states, we do not have legislation protecting pre-born life should Roe v. Wade be repealed. Such legislation — S 1127, The Equal Protection for Unborn Babies Act — was introduced to the SC House and Senate earlier this year but stalled in committee.

It’s time our state went on record in defense of life and equal protection before the law. Please contact Governor Henry McMaster and ask him to call for the Senate and House to pass S 1127 immediately. No amendments.

For further analysis on the SCOTUS leak, please see World News and Free the States.

Support S 1127—The Equal Protection for Unborn Babies Act

Update (Thursday, April 28, 2022): S 1127 and H 4830, bills for The Equal Protection for Unborn Babies Act, are stuck in committees in the South Carolina Senate and House of Representatives. S 1127 remains before the senate Medical Affairs committee, awaiting review and recommendation to the floor of the senate, where it has been since the beginning of March. The committee has not taken up the bill since then. H 4830 remains before the judiciary committee.

Update (Thursday, March 31, 2022): Earlier this month, S 988, The Equal Protection for Unborn Babies Act, was re-introduced in the South Carolina senate as S 1127. The bill remains before the senate Medical Affairs committee, awaiting review and recommendation to the floor of the senate. H 4830, the House of Representatives’ companion bill, remains before the judiciary committee, but has yet to make a meeting agenda.


Update (Friday, January 20, 2022):
Representative Josiah Magnuson has released H 4830, a bill enacting the Equal Protection for Unborn Babies Act, in the South Carolina House of Representatives. Its language is very similar to S 988 introduced by Senator Cash in the Senate and it has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for review.

Original Post: Last month, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in preparation for trying Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, a case from Mississippi revolving around a ban on abortions following 15-weeks. While there are many possible outcomes from this landmark case, a potential overturning of Roe v. Wade has attracted the most attention. In anticipation of such a decision, many states have passed “trigger laws”—legislation that will immediately abolish abortion in the state should the Supreme Court’s decision on the landmark 1974 case ever be overturned.

Many states, but not South Carolina.

Despite Palmetto State Republicans’ loud pro-life declarations and Red State advantages, they have never passed such legislation here.

The second half of the 2021/2022 legislative cycle has begun, however, and that oversight may be corrected—with your help.

S 988—The Equal Protection for Unborn Babies Act—has been introduced into the docket and has already made its way to the Medical Affairs Committee. If enacted, this bill would establish equal, legal protection for every baby conceived in South Carolina, beginning at conception, without exception—if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Here’s what you can do to help:

  1. Pray. Pray that the Supreme Court would go all the way and use Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health to overturn Roe. v. Wade later this year. Pray that the Lord would bless S 988 and the senators who support it.
  2. Contact your state senator. Direct your senator to support and cosponsor S 988. You can find your state senator online.
  3. If your senator serves on the Medical Affairs Committee, direct him to vote for S 988 without exception. Here are the senators who serve on the committee:
    1. Daniel B. “Danny” Verdin, III (Chairman)
    2. Harvey S. Peeler, Jr.
    3. Brad Hutto
    4. Shane R. Martin
    5. John L. Scott, Jr.
    6. Thomas C. Alexander
    7. Tom Davis
    8. Kevin L. Johnson
    9. Thomas “Tom” D. Corbin
    10. Marlon E. Kimpson
    11. Margie Bright Matthews
    12. Michael W. Gambrell
    13. Sandy Senn
    14. Richard J. Cash
    15. Mia S. McLeod
    16. Dwight A. Loftis
    17. Billy Garrett

While there are many avenues for protecting preborn life in our state, this obvious step should have been taken a while ago. We’ll keep you informed as this legislation advances. A similar bill will be introduced in the South Carolina House of Representatives soon.

 

Personhood, Pro-life Bills, and the 124th General Assembly

Personhood, Prolife Bills, and the General Assembly of South Carolina

The South Carolina Legislature

First, a brief civics lesson. Don’t worry—we’ll keep it short.

The South Carolina Legislature consists of the State Senate and the State House of Representatives. There are 46 Senators (one for each county in the state) and 124 Representatives (representing districts throughout the state, based on population). Taken together, the Senate and House are called the General Assembly.

Legislative sessions in South Carolina follow a two-year cycle. The 2021/2022 session began in January of 2021 and concluded its first half in May. The second half of the cycle will begin in January 2022 and conclude later in the same year. Together, these ten months constitute the 124th General Assembly of the State of South Carolina.

Priorities of the South Carolina Republican Party

As we’ve pointed out before, the SC GOP maintains the personhood of preborn children in its party platform:

We believe that the right to life is the first inalienable right, without which there can be no other rights. We believe that all human life has intrinsic worth and therefore support vigorous legal protection at all stages of life, from the unborn child to the elderly to the infirmed and disabled.

We believe the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection applies to unborn children. Unborn children should be classified as legal persons not as legal property.

By longstanding tradition, however, the state’s Republican party only passes (or attempts to pass) a single pro-life bill per legislative cycle. Why? Many party members claim that such bills are time-consuming and resources must be reserved for other legislative matters.

In other words, there isn’t a good reason.

But for now, that’s the way it is. For the current, 124th General Assembly the #heartbeatbill was it. That bill is now tied up in court challenges, where it’s not protecting anyone—just like similar bills passed in other states.

How to Pass the Personhood Act

Personhood South Carolina exists for one purpose: to pass the Personhood Act of South Carolina. This act would proclaim:

The General Assembly finds that a human being is a person at fertilization.

And further:

The rights guaranteed by Section 3, Article I, of the Constitution of this State—that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law nor denied the equal protection of the laws—vest at fertilization for each born and preborn human being.

In other words, South Carolina would recognize that persons inside the womb enjoy the same rights as persons outside of it.

But what about the state GOP’s reluctance to pass more than one pro-life bill per legislative cycle? What does it mean for the Personhood Act of South Carolina?

It means now is the time to prepare! To make this bill a priority for the next legislative cycle, we need to tell our representatives to make it one. We need to tell our state senators and representatives to pass Personhood in the 2022/2023 session. We need to start telling them now and not stop.

  • Pray for the end of abortion in South Carolina. Join a district prayer group. Don’t have a group in your county? Become a district captain and start one.
  • Join your voice with ours. More followers on Facebook, more followers on Twitter, and more subscribers means more voices calling for the protection of life. Join with us today!
  • Already on board? Then share this post with your friends and family! When it comes time to move the bill through a committee or onto the floor of the legislature, we want a call to action to reach a lot of South Carolinians.

Senate Pledges 2020

During the elections last year, Personhood SC sent out pledge campaigns to state senate candidates, asking if they would support personhood if they are elected. The latest responses may be found below, organized by districts.

Response District First Name Last Name Party
1 Thomas Alexander Republican
Yes 2 Rex Rice Republican
Yes 3 Richard Cash Republican
4 Mike Gambrell Republican
5 Tom Corbin Republican
6 Dwight Loftis Republican
7 Karl Allen Democratic
8 Ross Turner Republican
Yes 9 Danny Verdin Republican
Yes 10 Billy Garrett Republican
11 Josh Kimbrell Republican
Yes 12 Scott Talley Republican
Yes 13 Shane Martin Republican
14 Harvey Peeler Republican
15 Wes Climer Republican
Yes 16 Michael Johnson Republican
17 Mike Fanning Democratic
Yes 18 Ronnie Cromer Republican
19 John Scott Democratic
20 Dick Harpootlian Democratic
21 Darrell Jackson Democratic
22 Mia McLeod Democratic
23 Katrina Shealy Republican
24 Tom Young Republican
25 Shane Massey Republican
26 Nikki Setzler Democratic
27 Penry Gustafson Republican
28 Greg Hembree Republican
29 Gerald Malloy Democratic
30 Kent Williams Democratic
31 Hugh Leatherman Republican
32 Ronnie Sabb Democratic
33 Luke Rankin Republican
34 Stephen Goldfinch Republican
35 Thomas McElveen Democratic
36 Kevin Johnson Democratic
Yes 37 Larry Grooms Republican
38 Sean Bennett Republican
39 Vernon Stephens Democratic
40 Brad Hutto Democratic
41 Sandy Senn Republican
42 Marlon Kimpson Democratic
43 Chip Campsen Republican
Yes 44 Brian Adams Republican
45 Margie Bright Matthews Democratic
46 Tom Davis Republican

True Pro-life Defenders in the South Carolina Senate

Senate members were ranked based on their votes and actions during the January 26 – 28, 2021 battle over the addition of pro-death rape/incest/sick baby exceptions to the Heartbeat Bill in the South Carolina Senate.

Defenders

The following Senators proved their unwavering commitment to defend life by rejecting the egregious, pro-death exception amendments, voting against them every time. Senator Richard Cash led the way in the debate on the floor, arguing that it’s never acceptable to murder an innocent baby.
 
  • Oconee and Pickens
  • District 1
  • Profile

Pretenders

The following Senators betrayed innocent life by adding egregious, pro-death exception amendments or voting for them every time. Senator Tom Davis led the way in the debate, arguing that liberty is more important than life — he even said vehemently, “THERE IS NO ABSOLUTE RIGHT TO LIFE!” Senator Sandy Senn was also very vocal as a pro-life pretender.

Pro-Life Pretender Senator Tom Davis

Pro-Life Pretender Senator Sandy Senn

Surrenderers

The following Senators proved their weakness by initially voting against pro-death exceptions, but suddenly changed their stance and voted for the pro-death exceptions when their leader, Senator Larry Grooms, stood up and made the unproven claim that the Heartbeat Bill can’t pass without adding pro-death exceptions. They gave up based on an unproven claim.
 

Pro-Life Surrenderer Senator Larry Grooms

View the results for yourself online for the senate meetings on January 26 (vote on Senator Senn’s amendment), January 27 (vote on Senator Massey’s amendment), and January 28 (vote on the amended Hearbeat Bill).

Amendment to S217

Senators GOLDFINCH, CLIMER, RICE, TIMMONS, and CASH proposed the following amendment (not yet finalized):

Amend the bill, as and if amended, page 2, by striking lines 35 through 37 as contained in SECTION 1, and inserting therein the following:

/ Section 11340. (A) Nothing in this article shall be construed to prohibit a licensed physician from performing a medical procedure or providing medical treatment designed or intended to prevent the death of a pregnant woman. However, the physician shall make reasonable medical efforts under the circumstances to preserve both the life of the mother and the life of the preborn human being in a manner consistent with accepted medical standards. Under such circumstances, the accidental or unintentional injury or death to the preborn human being is not a violation of this article. The threat of the death of a pregnant woman must not be based on a diagnosis or claim of a mental or emotional condition of the pregnant woman or a diagnosis or claim that the pregnant woman will purposefully engage in conduct that she intends to result in her death. The provisions of this section must not be construed to authorize the intentional killing of a preborn human being.

(B) Nothing in this article shall be construed to prohibit contraception. As used in this subsection, ‘contraception’ is defined as the prevention of fertilization.

(C) Nothing in this article shall be construed to prohibit in vitro fertilization or assisted reproductive technology. The authority to regulate in vitro fertilization and assisted reproductive technology procedures is reserved by the Legislature.

Section 11350. This article is enacted pursuant to the power reserved to this State under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” /

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.