South Carolina Senate Committee Passes 24-Hour Abortion Waiting Period Bill
by Steven Ertelt
April 2, 2009
Columbia, SC (LifeNews.com) — A South Carolina state Senate committee on Thursday passed a bill that requires abortion businesses to give women a 24-hour reflection period before an abortion. The panel sent the bill on to the full Senate, which will potentially have a contentious debate and vote on the measure.
The current waiting period before an abortion is just one hour and state legislators believe 24 hours gives women considering an abortion more time to reflect on its risks and alternatives and will lower the number of abortions.
Rep. Greg Delleney, a Republican, is the chief sponsor of the bill, which the state House approved on a 83-23 vote last month.
Though the panel signed off on the bill today, Sen. Brad Hutto, an Orangeburg Democrat, promises a tough fight on the measure.
Hutto claims the bill would cause problems for rural women who have to drive longer distances to get to an abortion center. He strongly opposes the bill for that reason and placed a minority report on the legislation.
That means the Senate will have to set a debate for the bill under a special order and Hutto promises a tough floor battle in his attempt to defeat the legislation.
Sen. Raymond Cleary, a Republican, responded to Hutto’s concerns, according to an AP report, and tried to get the committee to delay voting on the bill, but the panel defeated his motion 9 to 7.
Then, the committee voted on the bill itself and approved it on a 10 to 7 party-line vote with Republicans backing the legislation and Democrats voting no.
Subcommittee Chairman David Thomas moved for the favorable report, and Senators Mike Fair and Mick Mulvaney defended the constitutionality of the bill.
Others supporting the bill were Committee Chairman Harvey Peeler, John Courson, Wes Hayes, Danny Verdin, Raymond Cleary, Kevin Bryant, and Shane Martin
Under the bill, if an ultrasound is performed before the abortion is done, the waiting period begins after the ultrasound. If no ultrasound is performed, the waiting period begins after the woman receives written materials describing the risks of abortion and alternatives to abortion such as adoption.
Delleney says South Carolina requires a 24-hour waiting period before other actions such as obtaining a marriage license and refinancing a house, yet abortion is a life and death decision.
"If you wait 24 hours to be married and three days before you can buy a house," Delleney said. "I don’t know how this is such a drastic bill to give the mother 24 hours to determine if she wants to go through with this procedure."
South Carolina Citizens for Life strongly supports the bill and is urging pro-life advocates to contact members of the Senate to support it.
"Next week the Senate will be on furlough until after Easter. While they are home in their districts, please make personal contact with your senator and encourage him to support the 24-hour waiting period when it is debated in the full Senate," the group told LifeNews.com.
Also last month, the South Carolina state House passed the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act to protect babies who survive abortions.
The born alive bill declares that any child who is born alive, including those who survive abortion, have the same constitutional rights as any other person.
An infant born alive deserves the same rights as anyone else, Representative Delleney said.
There were no attempts to weaken the bill which passed 105 to 5 and mirrors the federal bill former President Bush signed into law in 2002.
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