SC House Rejects Senate Amendment To Weaken Human Life Protection Act 

By Holly Gatling, Executive Director, South Carolina Citizens for Life

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Tuesday, September 27) By a lopsided vote of 95-11, the South Carolina House of Representatives overwhelmingly rejected the Senate Amendment to the Human Life Protection Act (H 5399). The August 30, 2022, House-passed bill protects unborn children at all stages of development. On September 8, 2022, the Senate stripped the protective language back to six weeks.

Representative John McCravy, R-Greenwood, said the House worked all summer to pass the Human Life Protection Act which protects the life of the unborn at all stages of development and the pregnant woman. The House included an exception for pregnancies that result from rape and incest. “The Senate now has the opportunity to pass the most historic piece of legislation in our state’s history,” said South Carolina Citizens for Life President Lisa Van Riper.

Representative McCravy who chaired the Ad Hoc Committee which heard testimony in favor of and opposed to protecting the unborn at all stages of development said the House “didn’t come back to protect a law we already have” referring to the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act (S.1) passed into law in February. “We came back to pass a law to advance the cause of life in South Carolina.”

When the House and Senate do not agree on legislative language, the next step is to send the disagreement to a conference committee made up of three members of the House and three from
the Senate.

House Speaker Murrell Smith, R-Sumter, appointed Representatives McCravy, Tommy Pope, R-York, and Spencer Wetmore, D-Charleston, to the Conference Committee. There was no immediate word on Senate appointees to a conference committee. In order for a bill to become law from a conference committee, it must receive approval from two of three members from both chambers, rather than a simple majority vote. In other words, the bill fails unless two House conferees and two Senate conferees agree to the compromise.

South Carolina Citizens for Life supported the decision to non-concur along with the South Carolina Baptist Convention, the Catholic Diocese of Charleston, Palmetto Family Council, and
the Carolina Pregnancy Counseling Center.

Mrs. Van Riper said, “The policy of South Carolina Citizens for Life is to support the legislation that provides the most comprehensive legal protection to the unborn while preserving the life of the mother. The South Carolina House version of the Human Life Protection Act meets our policy guidelines more than the amendment offered by the SC Senate.”