Fetal Pain Bill Advances in S.C. Senate But with Unacceptable Amendment

UnbornBabySC1COLUMBIA, SC — Last Wednesday a subcommittee of the South Carolina Senate Medical Affairs Committee voted 3-2 to move a heavily amended version of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H3114) to the full committee for further deliberation.

Based on discussion in Wednesday’s hearing the amendment appears to create exclusions for children conceived in rape or children diagnosed with disabilities. This effectively means there would be two classes of unborn children: those who are protected from feeling excruciating pain because they are found to be “healthy” and “normal” and those who are not protected from pain because they are disabled or due to the circumstances of their conception.

South Carolina Citizens for Life strongly opposes any amendments to the House bill. The amendment is being reviewed and more information will be forthcoming.

The House bill passed Feb 11, 2015, with an overwhelming bi-partisan vote of 80-27. The Senate panel voted 3-2 to amend the House bill. It is important to understand that there will be multiple opportunities for the Republican-controlled South Carolina Senate to reject the subcommittee amendment.

The full Medical Affairs Committee could take up the debate as early as April 15.

Militant pro-abortion Democrat Brad Hutto moved to amend and weaken the bill. Fellow Democrat Kevin Johnson and Republican Ray Cleary joined Hutto in voting for the amendment. Tom Davis, with the proxy of fellow Republican Shane Martin, voted against the amendment.

The subcommittee previously heard favorable testimony from a neuroscientist, a constitutional attorney, and a 14-year-old girl who was diagnosed before birth with disabilities. All three urged the subcommittee members to pass the pain-capable bill without amendments.

On Wednesday the subcommittee received further documents from an attorney and ethicist whose daughter was misdiagnosed before birth with lethal disabilities.

Joshua Styles who received his law degree from the University of North Carolina Law School and a Master of Arts in Christian Ethics from Southeastern Seminary in Wake forest, N.C., provided the subcommittee members a packet of information which included an ultrasound picture of his daughter, Anna, a photo of her at birth and a current photograph of Anna, now two years old.

The professor of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies at North Greenville University emphasized in a letter to Senator Cleary three reasons to oppose amending H3114.

He wrote that first, a prenatal diagnosis can be wrong, as it was in the case of his daughter. Second, he said, the amendment would “allow for the destruction of an unborn child who can still feel pain.” Finally he outlined the argument that such an amendment creates two classes of unborn members of the human family: those who are “normal” and those who are denied protection because they are disabled.

Styles said it is “extremely difficult for me to understand why my youngest daughter Anna would be denied protection under this bill because of a disability. To make such a distinction on the basis of disability or abnormality is not only grossly offensive to me as a father, but it flies in the face of every effort that has been made in our State and ┬áin this nation to afford those with disabilities the same legal protection as those who do not have disabilities.”