South Carolina Senate Kills Abortion Waiting Period, Advances Born Alive Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 15, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Carolina Senate Kills Abortion Waiting Period, Advances Born Alive Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 15
, 2009

Columbia, SC ( — The South Carolina state Senate on Thursday refused to set a special order consideration of the bill that requires abortion businesses to give women a 24-hour reflection period before an abortion. The bill had advanced most of the way through the legislature and would have been signed by the governor.

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.

Although the vote was 25-16 in favor of special order, it fell short of the two-thirds vote required to remove legislation from the contested calendar so that it could be debated and voted on by the full Senate.

Holly Gatling, the head of South Carolina Citizens for Life, lamented the results of the vote in an email to

"Essentially this means the 24-hour waiting period that protects the health and dignity of women and protects their right to choose life for their unborn child will not become law in 2009," she said.

Most of the votes against the special order for the pro-life bill to reduce abortions were from Democrats, along with Republicans Glenn McConnell of Charleston and Jake Knotts of Lexington.

Rep. Greg Delleney, chief sponsor of the bill which passed the House in February by an overwhelming vote of 83-28, expressed disappointment in the Senate’s failure.

“I’m extremely disappointed,” he said, “and I hope the Senate will rectify the situation.”

He praised South Carolina Citizens for Life and the Baptist Convention for the “hard work and tireless convictions” in helping to get the legislation through the House and on the Senate Calendar in a single session.

Sen. Brad Hutto, an Orangeburg Democrat, was the leading legislator against the waiting period bill. He placed a minority report on the legislation requiring the special order vote.

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."

Meanwhile, also on Thursday, Gatling said the Senate approved an amended version of the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act that the House also passed in February.

South Carolina Citizens for Life opposed the weakening amendments to the law that says a child who is born alive, including those who survive an abortion, are legal persons.

"That bill now will go back to the House where we will work to have the damaging amendments removed," she explained.

Related web sites:
South Carolina Legislature –
South Carolina Citizens for Life –

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