By Holly Gatling, Executive Director, South Carolina Citizens for Life
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Wednesday, February 15, 2023) By an overwhelming vote of 83-31, the South Carolina House of Representatives gave second reading to the Human Life Protection Act (H3774) to restore legal protection to the unborn at all stages of development.
“This action by the South Carolina House is a significant step in ultimately securing protection for our unborn children from the early moments of his or her life while protecting the life of the mother,” said Lisa Van Riper, President of South Carolina Citizens for Life.
Representative John McCravy, R-Greenwood, and chief sponsor of the Human Life Protection Act, said, “Today we have taken steps to advance the cause of life in South Carolina. This bill sends a message that the days of abortion as birth control are drawing to an end in our state.”
He made an impassioned plea to members of the House during the day-long debate saying even with exceptions for abortion allowed in the legislation, the measure will save 99.5 percent of the unborn children in South Carolina. Representative McCravy successfully fought most of the attempts to amend the bill. To those who argued for removing all the exceptions, he said, “It was difficult for me to put exceptions in this bill,” including for rape, incest, and fatal fetal anomaly. “Without these exceptions, we don’t have a bill.”
Later Representative McCravy commented, “It is now time for those Senators who have called themselves pro-life in the past to vote for life. This bill takes away all their past excuses and gives them a clear path.” The 2023 bill, he said, is drafted to address issues some senators raised when the nearly identical bill was defeated in a special session of the General Assembly that ended in November.
With his voice cracking with emotion, Representative McCravy said the Human Life Protection Act (H3774) “ends the practice of abortion as birth control in South Carolina” while protecting the life of the mother. The bill requires insurance companies to cover contraceptives unless the insurance company has a religious objection.
Newly elected Representative Kathy Landing, R-Charleston, rebuked the pro-abortion House members, especially the men who spoke against the bill. She recounted her experience working with women facing unplanned pregnancies. They consider abortion because they are “fearful or don’t have support” and believe that having a baby will “change their life in a detrimental way.” She said women are empowered not by abortion but by “having what they need to carry a child to term.”
After third reading, generally a perfunctory vote, the Human Life Protection Act moves to the S.C. Senate where it faces an uphill battle in the Republican controlled chamber that defeated a nearly identical bill last year.