A South Carolina Senate panel voted in favor of a bill, known as the South Carolina Personhood Act (S.217), that will not only outlaw all abortion in the state but is aimed at setting the stage for a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.
The State is reporting on the new bill, which will extend legal rights to fertilized eggs at the moment of conception, including those that are routinely destroyed at fertility centers, passed after two hours of debate yesterday by a vote of 12-9.
The bill now heads to the full Senate and House for a vote. If passed, it will outlaw the roughly 6,000 abortions performed in the state each year.
Richard Cash (R-Anderson) who is championing the bill, admits that the proposal is intended to spark a court case that could be used to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the U.S.
“A human being is a person,” Cash told The State and said the bill was proposed “to challenge the Supreme Court on their fundamental error that a human being is not a person.”
It’s a well-calculated move. As Personhood South Carolina reports, it confronts an issue that even Judge Harry Blackmum, who authored the Roe ruling, warned about. At the time of the passage of Roe, there was no basis for a claim of personhood for a fetus, but “If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case [Roe’s case], of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be protected,” Blackmum wrote.
Abortion advocates in the legislature are concerned that the bill is too broad and could leave fertility specialists liable for murder for disposing of fertilized eggs that aren’t used during in-vitro fertilization.
Although the bill does not specifically outlaw in-vitro fertilization, Cash did say that fertilization clinics “should not be allowed to destroy the eggs.”
They also raise the question of whether or not the bill will target doctors who perform abortions in medical emergencies when the mother’s life is in danger. However Cash’s bill was amended to specifically exonerate doctors from being charged for the accidental or unintentional death of an unborn child if that doctor is making “reasonable medical efforts” to save both during a medical emergency.
The bill also makes no exception for cases of rape or incest.
“If a child is raped, yes, that is a horrible act,” Cash said. “Two wrongs don’t make a right. You cannot erase the rape by killing the child. The child is an innocent person.”
At present, the pro-life Republican party controls both the Senate and the House as well as the Governor’s mansion which means if the bill passes, Governor Henry McMaster is likely to sign it into law.
“We must do everything we can to protect the lives of South Carolinians, to include those of the born and unborn, young and old,” McMaster said in a statement.
“I believe that human life begins at conception, and I believe the people of South Carolina deserve for their laws to reflect the values they hold dear. I applaud the Senate Judiciary Committee’s decision to move this important legislation forward and ask that the Senate pass it without delay.”
Let us keep this important legislation in our prayers!
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