South Carolina Governor Signs Bill to Ban Abortions After 20 Weeks When Babies Feel Pain

State   Steven Ertelt   May 25, 2016   |   5:01PM    Columbia, SC

South Carolina Govenror Nikki Haley has signed a bill that would protect unborn babies from painful, late-term abortions.

On March 8, the South Carolina Senate passed the bill known as Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act by a strong majority, LifeNews reported. The state House, which is controlled by Republicans, approved the bill last week.

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The bill has exceptions in cases where the mother’s life is in jeopardy and when doctors determine that the unborn baby has a fatal defect and cannot survive outside the womb, the report states. According to WSOC News 9, doctors who violate the legislation could face fines of up to $10,000 and up to three years in prison.

“South Carolina now joins thirteen other states in recognizing the humanity of the unborn child,” said Carol Tobias, National Right to Life president. “The smallest and most vulnerable members of our human family need our protection, and South Carolina has taken a vital step to save unborn children who are capable of feeling the excruciating pain of abortion.”

The bill protects “pain-capable unborn children from savage late abortions that frequently tear the baby’s body apart, limb by limb,” South Carolina Citizens for Life Executive Director Holly Gatling previously said in an email.

Gatling said the bill had strong bi-partisan support in the Senate. No Republican Senators opposed the bill, and nine of the 18 Democrat Senators voted in favor of the bill, according to the pro-life group.

“South Carolina Citizens for Life and the pro-life grassroots network worked tirelessly against the militant abortion industry,” said Holly Gatling, executive director of South Carolina Citizens for Life. “Pro-life lawmakers prevailed, however, because of the dedication and hard work of the pro-life community. In addition to South Carolina Citizens for Life, the legislation was strongly supported by a coalition of the Catholic Diocese of Charleston, the South Carolina Baptist Convention, the South Carolina Association of Pregnancy Care Centers, and Palmetto Family Council.”

Last year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a national version of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36). A minority of pro-abortion Democrats blocked consideration of the bill in the U.S. Senate last September.

“Basic compassion for human life demands that this legislation be enacted all over the country,” said National Right to Life Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D.  “In our upside-down society, most animals have more rights than unborn members of the human family. We are thankful the South Carolina General Assembly and Gov. Nikki Haley have recognized their solemn duty in protecting the lives of the most vulnerable.”

Haley 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.

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.

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