Abortion activists gathered outside of the South Carolina Statehouse on Tuesday to pressure Gov. Nikki Haley to veto a bill protecting babies from abortion starting at 20 weeks.
LifeNews reported the bill passed the state House last week, and the state Senate approved it in March. Haley said she almost certainly will sign it when it reaches her desk. The bill would protect unborn babies from painful, late-term abortions starting at 20 weeks when scientific evidence indicates they can feel intense pain. The bill includes exceptions for the mother’s life and fatal fetal abnormalities.
The Post and Courier reports about 50 people gathered at the pro-abortion rally on Tuesday, holding signs and urging the governor to veto the bill. Some of the signs read “Keep the elephant out of the womb” and “Don’t dread on me” next to a drawing of a uterus, WSAV News reports. The group also chanted “Stop the ban!”, according to the reports.
Alyssa Miller, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood in South Carolina, said they want legislators to know that “people are watching and paying attention.”
“These bills and bans will put women’s health and lives in jeopardy,” Miller said. “House Bill 3114 is simply part of extreme political agenda to chip away at access to safe and legal abortion.”
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Some abortion advocates also complained that the bill would not have passed if there were more women in the state legislature. State Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, told the local newspaper that South Carolina “need[s] more women in the Statehouse.”
He failed to mention that the lead sponsor of the bill is a woman, state Rep. Wendy Nanney, R-Greenville. She told ABC News that she hopes the bill is a step to eventually “get rid of abortion altogether.”
“I firmly believe life begins at conception and anything we can do to protect human life I’m all for,” Nanney said.
Haley, the first female governor of South Carolina, also has a strong pro-life record. Last year, Haley ordered an investigation of abortion clinics in the state following a national scandal involving Planned Parenthood selling aborted babies’ body parts. As a result, state health officials found multiple violations that have resulted in fines and other actions against the state’s three abortion clinics.
In 2012, Haley signed two key pro-life bills to protect babies who are born alive after failed abortions and to opt-out of abortions in the federal health care insurance in the Obamacare exchange.
Here’s more about the bill:
Similar laws are in effect in 12 states. They’ve been blocked by court challenges in three others, and the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule on the ban’s constitutionality. A South Dakota law signed in March takes effect this summer.
In Utah, a related law, also signed in March, requires doctors to provide anesthesia to a fetus at least 20 weeks in the womb.
A doctor who performs an illegal abortion under the bill would face up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Though abortion advocates deny the science of fetal pain, researchers have fully established fetal pain at 20 weeks or earlier. Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, is one of the leading researchers into it. He first published reports in the 1980s to validate research showing evidence for unborn pain.
He testified before U.S. Congress that an unborn child could feel pain at “eight-and-a-half weeks and possibly earlier” and that a baby before birth “under the right circumstances, is capable of crying.”
A national poll by The Polling Company found that, after being informed that there is scientific evidence that unborn children are capable of feeling pain at least by 20 weeks, 64% would support a law banning abortion after 20 weeks, unless the mother’s life was in danger. Only 30% said they would oppose such a law.