Democratic lawmakers in South Carolina spent over 12 hours attempting to block a pro-life amendment to the state’s current abortion law and prolong Republican efforts to place further limitations on the procedure.
The South Carolina legislature met on Tuesday afternoon to hear oral arguments for over 1,000 Democrat-proposed amendments to the “Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion” bill, after Gov. Henry McMaster, R-S.C., called an executive order for a special legislative session to finalize the debate. The meeting adjourned 2 a.m. Wednesday and reconvened later that afternoon.
“They must pass legislation that stops our state from becoming a destination for abortions,” McMaster said after calling for the special session.
If passed, the law would ban most abortions in South Carolina after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which usually falls around the sixth week of pregnancy, except for in the case of rape or incest within the first 12 weeks or if there is a risk to the life of the mother.
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Democrat state Rep. Beth Bernstein said she opposes the pro-life bill because she wants “to celebrate life.”
“I want to celebrate life. I want to celebrate the life of a mother who is carrying a child who has a fetal anomaly, and it’s a risk to her life… to be forced to carry her unborn child when there’s no change that that fetus will survive,” Bernstein said in her arguments. “And that’s the life I want to celebrate. It’s the women here who we are standing here trying to protect.”
Despite Bernstein’s claims that the bill would force a pregnant woman to carry a child with fetal anomaly to full term, the proposed law would allow abortions in cases where there is a risk to the life of the mother.
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Another Democrat, state Rep. Heather Bauer, claimed she wants to block the bill to keep politicians “out of my bedroom.”
“Our freedoms are at stake, our personal liberties,” she said. “This is about making sure that politicians stay out of my family decisions, out of my doctor’s offices and also out of my bedroom.”
The bill would alter the state’s current law to clarify that “a fetal heartbeat is a key medical predictor that an unborn child will reach live birth.”
It would also define cardiac activity as “a biologically identifiable moment in time, normally when the fetal heart is formed in the gestational sac” and that the state has a “compelling interest from the outset of a woman’s pregnancy in protecting the health of the woman and the life of the unborn child.”
Abortionists who violate the law would face felony charges, imprisonment and be fined $10,000.
“Pro-life leaders are building a culture of life, protecting unborn children, and providing vital support for moms and families,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA Pro-Life America, said in a statement in response to South Carolina debating further abortion bans. “They’re making childcare more accessible; increasing access to postpartum medical care; and creating paternity leave, educational support, and funding for pregnancy centers on the frontline helping mothers.”
Despite being a red-state, South Carolina failed to pass three pro-life laws since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June.
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