By Dave Andrusko
By a vote of 8-6 and with two amendments, the Senate Medical Affairs Committee Thursday endorsed South Carolina’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The bill is on the Senate Calendar for next Tuesday. H4223 passed the House March 16 on a bi-partisan 84-29 vote.
South Carolina Citizens for Life, NRLC’s state affiliate, regards this bill as the most important single piece of pro-life legislation since the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act was enacted in 1997. The bill would extend protection to unborn children who have reached 20 weeks fetal age based on findings that by that point, if not before, they have attained the capacity to experience great pain as they are being aborted. Currently, ten states have passed a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act based on model legislation from National Right to Life.
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A hostile Democrat, State Rep. Brad Hutto of Orangeburg, “placed a procedural hurdle on the proposal that will make it more difficult for the bill to get a vote on the Senate floor,” The Post-Courier reported. But local pro-life leaders are cautiously optimistic they will be able to secure the necessary votes next week.
The measure has strong public support in South Carolina. Earlier this week, National Right to Life and South Carolina Citizens for Life released a poll which found that 63% of registered voters in South Carolina support a law that would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks. (To see just some of the extensive evidence that unborn children have the capacity to experience pain, at least by 20 weeks developmental age, go to www.nrlc.org/abortion/fetalpain and www.doctorsonfetalpain.com.)
The poll also found that:
- 65% of women support the bill; 60% of men support the bill
- 49% of Democrats, 71% of Independents, and 68% of Republicans support the bill
- 50% said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports the bill
- 29% said that they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports the bill
The results of the statewide poll in South Carolina track closely with a nationwide poll of 1,003 registered voters conducted in March 2013, which found that 64% would support a law such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks – when an unborn baby can feel pain – unless the life of the mother is in danger.