Office of Public Policy- Update
SOUTH CAROLINA BAPTIST CONVENTION
OFFICE OF PUBLIC POLICY
Thursday, April 27, was a very sad day for the South Carolina Senate. Six Republican Senators joined the Democrats in the Chamber to filibuster H3774, preventing it from coming to the floor for a vote.
The Human Life Protection Act, passed by the House, would have protected life in the womb beginning at the point of a “clinically diagnosable pregnancy.” It would have prevented between 95% and 98% of abortions in our state (abortions performed in a clinic or hospital). Multiple attempts to overcome the filibuster were rebuffed. The bill is still on the calendar but realistically, there is no chance it will be taken up again in the Senate before the end of the session (which is just 6 days away). The worst part is, the bill passed second reading by one vote, 22-21, but three readings are necessary to pass a bill in the Senate.
There is a revised Heartbeat bill over in the House that could be brought to the floor for a vote, but attorneys for South Carolina Citizens for Life, Alliance Defending Freedom, and the Catholic Diocese, all say the language of the bill and the way it is constructed would almost certainly mean the South Carolina Supreme Court would strike it down. The original Heartbeat Bill was ruled unconstitutional by the court earlier this year. Another loss on a similarly worded bill would be a disaster. Currently, there are not enough votes in the House to pass the bill as written and there isn’t enough time for the bill to be amended and sent back to the Senate.
Right now, it appears it will be January before another bill to protect life can be considered and have a chance to pass. Between now and then, with abortions legal up to 22 weeks, South Carolina is a destination state for abortion. DHEC is reporting over 1000 abortions a month with 50% of them being from out of state. Both Georgia and Florida have 6 week bans (Heartbeat Bills) and now that North Carolina has a super majority in their Republican led legislature, it is likely North Carolina will pass at least a six week ban, and Republicans now have the votes to overcome an expected veto from their Democrat Governor. That will no doubt greatly increase the number of abortions we see here in South Carolina.
The six Republican Senators who refused to yield the floor for a straight up or down vote are:
Katrina Shealy – District 23 (Lexington)
Penry Gustafson – District 27 (Chesterfield, Kershaw, and Lancaster Counties)
Tom Davis – District 48 (Beaufort and Jasper Counties)
Greg Hembree – District 28 (Dillon, Horry Counties)
Luke Rankin – District 33 (Horry County)
Sandy Senn – District 41 (Charleston, Dorchester Counties)
All but Senator Senn voted for the revised Heartbeat Bill. They will certainly use that vote to claim they are pro-life, however they refused to let the Human Life Protection Act come to the floor for a vote when they knew there were enough votes to pass it.
Please pray for our Legislature and our state. The pro-life community must begin to engage and make our voices heard. We must make compelling, convincing, and courageous arguments for life. May God forgive us for the massive death of the unborn we, as a state, are allowing.