South Carolina Republicans Discuss Abortion Waiting Period, Pro-Life Group Calls
by Steven Ertelt
May 4, 2009
Columbia, SC (LifeNews.com) — The Senate Republican Caucus is planning a morning meeting on Tuesday to discuss the bill that requires abortion businesses to give women a 24-hour reflection period before an abortion. A Senate committee signed off on the bill last month and now it heads to the full state Senate for a vote.
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 Senate panel approved the bill, Sen. Brad Hutto, an Orangeburg Democrat, promises a tough fight on the measure on the Senate floor.
To prepare for that, Republican lawmakers are meeting Tuesday morning to discuss the legislation and South Carolina Citizens for Life informed LifeNews.com that the group is asking pro-life advocates to call their lawmakers to urge support for the bill.
"The purpose of the 24-hour waiting period is to require abortionists to inform women about alternatives to abortion and to give her 24 hours to reflect on a decision that cannot be reversed,’ SCCL director Holly Gatling tells LifeNews.com. "In South Carolina couples who apply for a marriage license wait 24 hours before the wedding, and even real estate transactions have waiting periods."
"In 1992 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion is constitutional. It is time for the South Carolina Senate to provide a 24-hour waiting period that protects women’s dignity, health, and right to choose life for their unborn child," she added.
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.
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."
In March, 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.
Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com
Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.