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.


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


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


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).

The Centrality of Personhood in 2020

Ashley joined the board of Personhood SC this year and is running for the South Carolina House of Representatives in Beaufort, Hampton, and Jasper counties (district 122).

2020 has been a crazy year

Sad, but true.
Everyone seems to have an opinion about how things should be done or how things weren’t done correctly. I keep hearing about our rights and how they are being infringed upon, and of course, every one has an opinion. But what about our original rights afforded to us by this country’s forefathers. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Did you catch that? The right to LIFE. Every day, innocent lives are being ended by abortion. What about those lives? Who’s protecting and taking a stand for their right to LIFE?
In addition to everything else, this year is an election year, and it’s more important that ever to vote for those who will stand up for our right to LIFE. Ask those running for office in your area to sign the Personhood Pledge and vote to protect innocent lives. No exceptions.

House Pledges 2020

Updated Thursday, July 30, 2020

In advance of June 9, Personhood SC has sent out pledges, asking for support of personhood legislation. The latest responses may be found below, organized by districts.

Response District First Name Last Name Party
1 Bill Whitmire Republican
2 Bill Sandifer Republican
3 Eunice Lehmacher Democratic
3 Jerry Carter Republican
Yes 4 David Davey Hiott Republican
No 5 Neal Collins Republican
6 Brian White Republican
7 Andrea Bejarano-Robinson Democratic
7 Jay West Republican
8 Jackie Todd Alliance
Yes 8 Jonathon Hill Republican
Yes 9 Anne Thayer Republican
10 West Cox Republican
11 Craig Gagnon Republican
12 Anne Parks Democratic
No 12 Robbie Bryant Green
12 James Pearman Republican
No 13 Denise Waldrep Democratic
Yes 13 John McCravy Republican
14 Stewart Jones Republican
15 JA Moore Democratic
15 Samuel Rivers Jr Republican
16 Mark N Willis Republican
Yes 17 Mike Burns Republican
18 Benjamin Smith Democratic
18 Tommy Stringer Republican
19 Jevarus Howard Democratic
19 Patrick Haddon Republican
20 Stephen Dreyfus Democratic
20 Adam Morgan Republican
Yes 21 Bobby Cox Republican
22 BK Brown Democratic
22 Jason Elliott Republican
23 Chandra Dillard Democratic
24 Bruce Bannister Republican
25 Leola Simpson Democratic
25 Tony Boyce Independence
25 Darath Mackie Republican
26 Monica Danneman Democratic
26 Raye Felder Republican
27 Garry Smith Republican
28 Ty Washington Democratic
28 Ashley Trantham Republican
29 Dennis Moss Republican
30 Steve Moss Republican
31 Rosalyn Henderson-Myers Democratic
32 Max Hyde Republican
Yes 33 Thomas Riddle Constitution
Yes 33 Travis Moore Republican
Yes 34 Roger A Nutt Republican
35 Helen Pendarvis Democratic
Yes 35 Bill Chumley Republican
Yes 36 Rita Allison Republican
Yes 37 Steven Long Republican
Yes 38 Josiah Magnuson Republican
39 Cal Forrest Republican
40 Rick Martin Republican
41 Annie McDaniel Democratic
Yes 41 Jennifer Brecheisen Republican
42 Doug Gilliam Republican
43 Reid Carrico Democratic
43 Randy Ligon Republican
44 Mandy Powers Norrell Democratic
44 Sandy McGarry Republican
45 Keith Grey Sr Democratic
45 Brandon Newton Republican
46 Gary Simrill Republican
No 47 Ryan McKenzie Arioli Democratic
47 Tommy Pope Republican
48 Kathryn Roberts Democratic
48 Bruce Bryant Republican
49 John King Democratic
49 Johnny Walker Republican
50 Will Wheeler Democratic
51 David Weeks Democratic
52 Laurie Slade Funderburk Democratic
Yes 52 Vic Dabney Republican
53 Richard L Richie Yow Republican
54 Patricia Moore Pat Henegan Democratic
54 Sterling McDiarmid Republican
55 Jackie Hayes Democratic
56 Bruce Fischer Democratic
56 Tim McGinnis Republican
57 Lucas Atkinson Democratic
58 Jeff Johnson Republican
59 Terry Alexander Democratic
60 Teresa McGill Cain Democratic
60 Phillip Lowe Republican
61 Roger Kirby Democratic
63 Isaac Wilson Democratic
63 Jay Jordan Republican
64 Kimberly Johnson Democratic
64 Cindy Risher Republican
65 Jay Lucas Republican
66 Gilda Cobb-Hunter Democratic
66 Jeffrey Cila Republican
67 Murrell Smith Republican
68 Mike Childs Alliance
Yes 68 Larry Guy Hammond Libertarian
68 Heather Ammons Crawford Republican
69 Chris Wooten Republican
70 Wendy Brawley Democratic
71 Terry Seawright Democratic
71 Lawrence Lee Libertarian
71 Nathan Ballentine Republican
72 Seth Rose Democratic
73 Chris Hart Democratic
73 Myron Samuels Republican
74 Todd Rutherford Democratic
74 Vimalkumar Jariwala Republican
75 Rhodes Bailey Democratic
75 Kirkman Finlay III Republican
76 Leon Howard Democratic
77 Kambrell Garvin Democratic
77 Justin Bishop Libertarian
78 Beth Bernstein Democratic
78 Viresh Sinha Republican
79 Ivory Thigpen Democratic
79 Victor Kocher Libertarian
80 Jermaine Johnson Democratic
80 Vincent E Wilson Republican
Yes 81 Robert Williams Republican
81 Bart Blackwell Republican
82 William Bill Clyburn Democratic
83 Evelyn Robinson Democratic
Yes 83 Bill Hixon Republican
84 Melissa Oremus Republican
85 Chip Huggins Republican
86 Bill Taylor Republican
87 Paula Rawl Calhoon Republican
Yes 88 RJ May Republican
89 Micah Caskey Republican
90 Justin Bamberg Democratic
90 Glenn Posey Republican
91 Lonnie Hosey Democratic
92 Joe Daning Republican
93 Russell Ott Democratic
94 Patricia Cannon Democratic
94 Gil Gatch Republican
95 Jerry Govan Democratic
95 Willie Legette Labor
Yes 96 D Ryan McCabe Republican
97 Ronee De Canio Democratic
97 Mandy Kimmons Republican
98 Chris Murphy Republican
99 Jen Gibson Democratic
99 Mark Smith Republican
100 Sylleste Davis Republican
101 Cezar McKnight Democratic
102 Joe Jefferson Democratic
103 Carl Anderson Democratic
104 William Bailey Republican
Yes 105 Kevin Hardee Republican
106 Russell Fry Republican
107 Alan Clemmons Republican
108 Lee Hewitt Republican
109 Deon Tedder Democratic
109 Rodney Travis Libertarian
110 Rebecca Niess Cingolani Democratic
110 William Cogswell Republican
111 Wendell Gilliard Democratic
Yes 111 Ted Vining Republican
112 Daniel Brownstein Democratic
112 Joe Bustos Republican
113 Marvin Pendarvis Democratic
114 Brad Jayne Alliance
114 Ed Sutton Democratic
Yes 114 Lin Bennett Republican
115 Carol Tempel Democratic
115 Spencer Wetmore Democratic
115 Josh Stokes Republican
116 Chardale Murray Democratic
116 Carroll O’Neal Republican
117 Krystle Matthews Democratic
Yes 117 Jordan Pace Republican
118 Mitchell Siegel Democratic
Yes 118 Bill Herbkersman Republican
119 Leon Stavrinakis Democratic
119 Alex Thornton Libertarian
120 Weston Newton Republican
121 Michael Rivers Sr Democratic
121 Eric Erickson Republican
122 Shedron Hook Williams Democratic
Yes 122 Ashley Lawton Republican
123 Christine deVries Democratic
123 Jeff Bradley Republican
124 Barb Nash Democratic
124 Shannon Erickson Republican

Press Release: Legislators and Pro-Family Organizations Urge Gov. McMaster to Close Abortion Clinics Amid Epidemic

South Carolina, April 9th

Letters and petitions have been sent to Governor Henry McMaster urging him to close abortions clinics, who have failed to comply with his request to “halt all elective and non-threatening surgical and medical procedures.” The medical community at-large has voluntarily complied with the request during this crisis at great financial cost. They are united in their efforts to protect the lives of the most vulnerable in our society with one glaring exception — abortion clinics. As hospitals across the country face critical shortages of personal protection equipment (PPE) and medical resources essential to combating the coronavirus, abortion clinics continue to use scarce PPE and increase risk to exposure among staff and patients. 

A letter to Gov. McMaster authored by Senator Richard Cash (R-Anderson) and signed by 17 Senators including Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey and Senate President Harvey Peeler stated, “As a matter of fact, killing a baby in the mother’s womb is an elective procedure, a “choice”, not a necessity, not an emergency. Abortion clinics are not complying with the request you made on March 17th; rather they are using up PPE and exposing staff and patients to unnecessary risks by continuing to perform abortions.”

In a conference arranged by Sen. Cash, Rep. John McCravy (R-Greenwood), the moderator of the House Family Caucus said, “We are to the person outraged… disgusted at their failure to comply with the Governor’s request.” Family Caucus member Stewart Jones (R-Laurens), authored a “Letter from the House” signed by 17 members of the house that said, “The Governor has closed business, sent people home, families are not working, yet abortions continue in South Carolina. We need to close every abortion clinic in this state immediately. Other states are doing this across our country. Texas, Ohio, Maryland and other States are making these same calls.”

Also on the call were leaders of pro-family groups. Joshua Putnam, executive director of Palmetto Family Council, launched a petition campaign asking for abortion closure to “limit community spread” and urging “the Governor and DHEC to enforce what they have medical facilities to do during this pandemic.” Lisa Van Riper, President of South Carolina Citizens for Life, said, “society is working feverishly and making great sacrifice to save the heartbeat of those stricken with this virus. The fact that Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics… [continue to be] allowed to operate in direct defiance of the Governor’s directive is unconscionable.”   

Holly Gattling, speaking on behalf of the National Right to Life Committee, addressed the question of whether the Governor has the legal authority to temporarily close abortion clinics during the crisis. She pointed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. The court upheld Governor Greg Abbot’s (R-TX) executive order requiring “all licensed medical facilities, and that’s including abortion facilities, to postpone all surgeries and procedures not immediately medically necessary.”

Dr. Matt Clark, a practicing physician who holds a master’s in public health and serves as Executive Director of Personhood SC, offered his thoughts from a medical and public health perspective on the decision of abortion practitioner’s to continue to provide abortions: “From the perspective of an individual physician, in my office we’re practicing very strict social distancing … and the kinds of visits we have with patients are not near as close and likely to spread illness as what’s going on inside abortion clinics.