Action Alert on H5399’S Future
SOUTH CAROLINA BAPTIST CONVENTION
OFFICE OF PUBLIC POLICY
On Tuesday, September 27, the South Carolina House of Representatives voted 95 to 11 to non-concur with the Senate-passed version of H5399. This vote sends a strong message to the Senate for the protection of life. As you may remember, the House passed a strong pro-life bill that would protect life in the womb beginning at conception with the exception of the life of the mother, rape, and incest. The amended version, which had the votes to pass in the Senate, fell two votes short of shutting down a filibuster led by 6 Republicans.
The Senate ended up passing an amended version of the 2021 Heartbeat Bill. It included an exception for fatal fetal anomaly (as certified by 2 doctors). It cut all funding for Planned Parenthood out of the South Carolina budget, and it prohibited state employees from using their state-provided insurance plan to pay for an abortion. It is this version of the bill that the House rejected on September 27.
So, what happens now?
The Senate has agreed to reconvene on Tuesday, October 18 to take action regarding the House’s vote of non-concurrence. There are several possible outcomes, but the best outcome for protecting life would be for the Senate to “vote to recede.” This simply means they would abandon or withdraw the bill they passed and sent to the House in favor of passing the original House version of H5399. A vote to recede is not subject to debate or the addition of any amendments. It cannot be filibustered. There can only be an up or down vote.
If the Senate votes to recede, the original House bill (H5399) would go directly to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
This is our best option to protect life in South Carolina. If the Senate sends a bill to the conference, the conference committee report will have to be agreed to in the House and the Senate. The report would be subject to a filibuster that would end any chance of passage. The clock is ticking on the Sine Die resolution timetable. We need immediate action to protect life beginning at conception. Please contact your Senator today and do the following:
- Thank them for agreeing to reconvene. If they had refused to come back into session, the bill would have died.
- Encourage them to vote to recede. There were 24 Republican votes in the Senate for Senator Massey’s first amended version of H5399. The original House bill is very close to Senator Massey’s first amended version. The best path for protecting life is a vote to recede.
Calls, texts, and emails are still running heavily in favor of Planned Parenthood’s attempt to stop this legislation from seeing the light day. We need you to light up Republican Senators with emails, phone calls, text messages, in other words, contact them any way you can between now and Tuesday, October 18.
If you need to get information on identifying your State Senator, use the link below and follow the directions on the home page:
He must increase, I must decrease
Dr. Tony Beam
The South Carolina Baptist Convention Office of Public Policy