South Carolina Democrats blocked a bill early Friday morning that could have protected almost all unborn babies from abortion in the state.
The controversial bill was the subject of a long, heated debate in the state legislature. Beginning Thursday, pro-abortion Democrats in the House filibustered the bill, and by early Friday morning, lawmakers voted to send the bill back to committee, WLTX News 19 reports. The vote was 24-21. Because there only are three days left in the legislative session, the vote basically killed the bill.
The state Senate passed the bill earlier this week after amending it from a ban on dismemberment abortions to a ban on nearly all abortions. It included exceptions for cases of rape, incest or medical emergencies that threaten the mother’s life.
Gov. Henry McMaster said he would sign the bill if it reached his desk, according to the report.
After the vote Friday, Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant lamented for the unborn babies who will continue to be aborted in the state.
“I’m just extremely disappointed,” Bryant said on Twitter. “The rights and the life and liberty of the unborn were set way, way back just now.”
Many pro-life Republicans “were visibly frustrated” early Friday “after they had spent all week holding out hope that Democrats would tire of delaying the bill,” according to the Post and Courier.
Meanwhile, abortion activists rejoiced at their victory.
“The abortion ban in South Carolina is no longer,” said state Sen. Marlon Kimpson, a pro-abortion Democrat who led the filibuster. “After hours of filibuster, the bill has now been recommitted to committee. Women will continue to have the right to choose and make their own personal decisions about their bodies in consultation with their families and doctors.”
Here’s more from the Greensville News:
Kimpson and other Democrats mounted a filibuster, swapping places at the podium to keep talking and block consideration of the bill.
They talked about food, coffee, swimming, the lack of money and what they believe are the state’s most pressing issues, in addition to why the legislation was a “bad bill” that even House leaders opposed.
“Why are we wasting our time?” Kimpson, a Charleston Democrat, asked in the middle of his hours at the podium Thursday.
In the end, several Republicans also voted to move the bill back to committee.
A separate bill to recognize unborn babies as legal persons also failed to pass the South Carolina House this spring. After it was introduced, a South Carolina Planned Parenthood spokesperson threatened a legal challenge.
The state lawmakers’ efforts to protect unborn babies from abortion are noble, but even if they had succeeded, the legislation may not have saved lives.
Because of the current make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts, a law to prohibit abortions in the first trimester most likely would not survive a court challenge. President Donald Trump promised to appoint pro-life justices to the court, but he would have to appoint at least one more judge before the legislation would have a chance of being upheld.
When courts rule against pro-life laws, state taxpayers often are forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.
Several years ago, North Dakota and Arkansas passed bills to prohibit abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable (about six weeks), but federal courts struck down both laws.
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said the following about its ruling on the six-week ban: “Because there is no genuine dispute that (North Dakota’s law) generally prohibits abortions before viability — as the Supreme Court has defined that concept — and because we are bound by Supreme Court precedent holding that states may not prohibit pre-viability abortions, we must affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the plaintiffs.”