By Holly Gatling, Executive Director, South Carolina Citizens for Life
By a vote of 32-10, the South Carolina Senate today set the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H4223) for special order.
A special order means the Senate agrees to take a bill out of order. It takes only one senator to block pro-life legislation but that block can be overcome when a 2/3 majority of the senators agree to special order, or a minimum of 30 votes.
Five Democrats joined with the Republican majority to assure that the top legislative priority of South Carolina Citizens for Life (SCCL) will be voted on this session.
All 10 votes against protecting unborn children from abortion when they are capable of feeling pain were Democrats. The three who did not vote were also Democrats, including gubernatorial candidate Senator Vincent Sheheen.
SCCL regards this bill as the most important single piece of pro-life legislation to come before the General Assembly since the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act was enacted in 1997.
The bill has already passed the House on a bi-partisan vote of 84-29. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would extend protection to unborn children who have reached 20 weeks, based on extensive scientific findings that by that point, if not before, these child have attained the capacity to experience great pain as they are being aborted.
Similar bills based on model legislation from National Right to Life is the law in 10 states. It in effect and unchallenged in eight of those states.