South Carolina House Approves Abortion Ban, Protects Babies From Abortion Starting at Conception

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 31, 2022   |   9:00AM   |   Columbia, South Carolina

The South Carolina state House late Tuesday passed an abortion ban that will protect babies starting at conception. The measure would upgrade the state’s existing heartbeat law, which protects babies from abortions starting at 6 weeks when their heartbeat can be detected on a sonogram, to a full abortion ban protecting babies starting at conception.

The measure also indicates “it is undisputed that the life of every human being begins at conception” means child support and tax breaks begin at conception too.

By a vote of 67-38, the House approved the Human Life Protection Act, H. 5399, that bans abortions exception in extremely rare cases to save the life of the mother and with a narrowly drawn exception for rape and incest. lawmakers voted 55-47 for the exceptions — which are narrowly drawn to only allow abortions in cases of rape or incest up to 12 weeks after conception. The abortionist must report the rape or incest to the county sheriff, and has 24 hours to provide the woman’s name and contact information to law enforcement so the rapist can be prosecuted.

The other exception provides for an abortion to protect the mother’s life, substantial risk of death, or substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the mother. Anyone who carries out such abortions “must declare in a written document that the medical procedure was necessary.”

Once the House gives the bill a final vote today it will go to the state Senate, where it is expected to pass. Gov. Henry McMaster, who is pro-life and signed the heartbeat law, is expected to sign the ban into law.

“This is a good starting point for the Senate to begin its deliberations,” McMaster’s spokesman Brian Symmes said.

Some pro-life lawmakers were not happy with the exceptions, saying the baby’s life matters no matter how he or she was conceived. But, in the end, they voted to ensure 99% of babies are protected under the abortion ban.

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“But here’s the thing — at the end of the day we passed a good pro-life bill in South Carolina,” said Republican Rep. John McCravy, who shepherded the bill through the chamber.

Lawmakers also defeated an amendment to charge women who have abortions — keeping the status quo where abortionists are face criminal penalties for killing babies. The law would create a felony for abortionists “performs or abets an abortion,” or who “uses force or the threat of force to injure or intimidate a person for the purpose of coercing an abortion.”

Following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a South Carolina judge denied a request from the Planned Parenthood abortion business to block the state’s heartbeat law, making it so the pro-life law will continue protecting babies from abortions.

Circuit Judge Casey Manning declined Planned Parenthood’s request today to block the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act and instead sent the issue directly to the South Carolina Supreme Court to decide.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, the Greenville Women’s Clinic abortion business, and two abortionists sued the state to overturn the Fetal Heartbeat Act after the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the federal injunction against it following the Supreme Court’s monumental decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In making his decision, Judge Manning said, the case “will stop in the Supreme Court. Why shouldn’t it start in the Supreme Court?”

Solicitor General Bob Cook of the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office encouraged Judge Manning to grant the Attorney General’s “motion for original jurisdiction.” That means sending the case to the high court to decide first. But a Planned Parenthood attorney argued that the two abortion facilities it runs in South Carolina are losing half their business with the Fetal Heartbeat Act in effect.

The State Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Abortion Report for 2021 shows that the Planned Parenthood facilities in Charleston and Columbia collectively killed 3,604 babies waiting to be born in South Carolina. That is 57 percent of the 6,279 abortions committed in South Carolina in 2021. The Greenville Women’s Clinic, also a plaintiff in the lawsuit to overturn the Fetal Heartbeat Act, killed 2,603 unborn babies in 2021, according to the DHEC report. Planned Parenthood killed 1,832 unborn black babies while Greenville Women’s Center killed 1,031 unborn back children, according to DHEC records.

The heartbeat law could save as many as half or more of those babies from abortions until the state has a full-fledged abortion ban in place.

As LifeNews reported, Attorney General Alan Wilson announced moments after the Dobbs decision that he filed a motion with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to lift its injunction against the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection Against Abortion that was signed into law last year by pro-life Governor Henry McMaster.

Afterwards, Judge Mary Geiger Lewis stayed an injunction that was blocking the state law and allowed the pro-life law to begin saving babies from abortions.

“The Heartbeat Law is now in effect. Once Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court, the decision on legally protecting the lives of unborn babies was returned to the states, so there was no longer any basis for blocking South Carolina’s Heartbeat Law,” Wilson said in a statement. “Our state is now carrying out a government’s most sacred and fundamental duty, protecting life.”

On Twitter, Governor Henry McMaster applauded the decision.

“We’ve spent nearly a year and a half defending the Fetal Heartbeat Act in court. Finally, it has gone into effect in South Carolina. This is why Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision is so important – countless unborn children will be saved because of this law,” he said.

As LifeNews reported, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, with a 6-3 majority ruling in the Dobbs case that “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion” — allowing states to ban abortions and protect unborn babies. The high court also ruled 6-3 uphold the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban so states can further limit abortions and to get rid of the false viability standard.

Chief Justice John Roberts technically voted for the judgment but, in his concurring opinion, disagreed with the reasoning and said he wanted to keep abortions legal but with a new standard.

Texas and Oklahoma had banned abortions before Roe was overturned and Missouri became the first state after Roe to protect babies from abortions and South Dakota became the 2nd. Then Arkansas became the third state protecting babies from abortions and Kentucky became the 4th and Louisiana became the 5th and Ohio became the 6th and Utah became the 7th and Oklahoma became the 8th and Alabama became the 9th. This week, Mississippi became the 10th and South Carolina became the 11th,Texas became the 12th with its pre-Roe law and Tennessee became the 13th.

Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia have old pro-life laws on the books but there is question about whether they are applicable and will be enforced.

Ultimately, as many as 26 states could immediately or quickly ban abortions and protect babies from certain death for the first time in nearly 50 years.

The 13 total states with trigger laws that would effectively ban all or most abortions are: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

“Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito wrote.

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” Alito wrote. “And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer authored a joint dissent condemning the decision as enabling states to enact “draconian” restrictions on women.

Polls show Americans are pro-life on abortion and a new national poll shows 75% of Americans essentially agree with the Supreme Court overturning Roe.

Despite false reports that abortion bans would prevent doctors from treating pregnant women for miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies, pro-life doctors confirm that is not the case. Some 35 states have laws making it clear that miscarriage is not abortion and every state with an abortion ban allows treatment for both.