By Holly Gatling, Executive Director, South Carolina Citizens for Life
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Tuesday, October 18, 2022) By a vote of 17-26, the South Carolina Senate failed to send the Human Life Protection Act directly to Governor Henry McMaster leaving more than 6,000 unborn babies a year without protection from abortion in the Palmetto State.
All 17 Senators who voted to give babies immediate protection are Republicans, whereas 11 Republicans joined the pro-abortion Democrats to deny the unborn children immediate and effective protection from abortion deaths.
Lisa Van Riper, President of South Carolina Citizens for Life which strongly supported sending the bill immediately to Governor McMaster said, “I am deeply disappointed that the Senate chose to delay passage of the Human Life Protection Act. Delay guarantees that South Carolina will continue to lose 115 unborn children to abortion every week.”
Mrs. Van Riper noted, however, that the strongly protective House-passed Human Life Protection Act and the weakening Senate Amendment now go to a Conference Committee where differences in the two measures may or may not be resolved. “We encourage the Conference Committee to act quickly,” she said, “to find a way forward to protect the unborn at their earliest stages of development while protecting the life of the mother.”
Pro-Life Senate President Thomas Alexander (R-Oconee) appointed the Senate conferees: strongly pro-life Senator Richard Cash, R-Anderson, militant pro-abortion Senator Margie Bright-Matthews, D-Colleton, and Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, who supported the House version of the bill when the Senate voted on September 8 but voted with pro-abortion Democrats today.
On September 27, 2022, the South Carolina House overwhelmingly rejected the Senate Amendment to the Human Life Protection Act (H 5399) by a vote of 95-11. Pro-Life Speaker of the House Murrell Smith, R-Sumter, appointed strongly pro-life Republicans John McCravy (R-Greenwood) and Tommy Pope (R-York) and pro-abortion Democrat Spencer Wetmore (D-Charleston) to the Conference Committee. No date was set Tuesday for the conference committee to meet; however, the committee has until November 13 to reach a compromise because the 2021-2022 Legislative session ends on that day.
Representative McCravy said he was disappointed by the Senate vote today. “The question for the conference committee,” he said, is to “agree to advance the cause of life and stop killing thousands of babies every year.” He said the pro-life movement “will continue to fight until the end. We will never give up.”
Because of the Senate’s failure to send the Human Life Protection Act to Governor McMaster and because the South Carolina Supreme Court temporarily has stopped enforcement of the Fetal Heartbeat Act, abortions in South Carolina are legal up to 20 weeks after fertilization. The South Carolina Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on Wednesday, October 19, on the challenge by Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses. They allege the Fetal Heartbeat Act violates the South Carolina Code of Law and the state Constitution’s right to privacy clause.