South Carolina becomes 14th State to enact Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

SCpaincapableactpassreWASHINGTON – South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) today signed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act – a bill that protects unborn children from abortions after 20 weeks fetal age, a point by which there is compelling evidence that unborn children are capable of feeling pain. South Carolina becomes the fourteenth state to enact this legislation, which is based on a model bill developed by National Right to Life.

South Carolina now joins thirteen other states in recognizing the humanity of the unborn child,” said Carol Tobias, National Right to Life president. “The smallest and most vulnerable members of our human family need our protection, and South Carolina has taken a vital step to save unborn children who are capable of feeling the excruciating pain of abortion.

The South Carolina Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act generally protects the lives of pain-capable unborn children from being killed by abortion. The law protects unborn children from 20 weeks fetal age, based on legislative findings that there is compelling evidence that an unborn child by that point (if not earlier) is capable of experiencing excruciating pain during the process of dismemberment or other abortion procedures.

South Carolina Citizens for Life and the pro-life grassroots network worked tirelessly against the militant abortion industry,” said Holly Gatling, executive director of South Carolina Citizens for Life. “Pro-life lawmakers prevailed, however, because of the dedication and hard work of the pro-life community. In addition to South Carolina Citizens for Life, the legislation was strongly supported by a coalition of the Catholic Diocese of Charleston, the South Carolina Baptist Convention, the South Carolina Association of Pregnancy Care Centers, and Palmetto Family Council.

Last year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a national version of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36). A minority of pro-abortion Democrats blocked consideration of the bill in the U.S. Senate last September.

Basic compassion for human life demands that this legislation be enacted all over the country,” said National Right to Life Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D. “In our upside-down society, most animals have more rights than unborn members of the human family. We are thankful the South Carolina General Assembly and Gov. Nikki Haley have recognized their solemn duty in protecting the lives of the most vulnerable.”

Some of the extensive evidence that unborn children have the capacity to experience pain, at least by 20 weeks fetal age, is available on the National Right to Life website at and also here:

South Carolina Citizens for Life has found a direct correlation in the enactment of pro-life laws and a dramatic 59% decline in the number of abortions in the state since 1988. A chart showing the decline can be found on the SCCL website.