Report on Senate Action on H5399￼
September 8, 2022 will go down in history as a dark day for South Carolina. After two days of sometimes heated debate, the Senate defeated the total abortion ban bill because of a filibuster led by Sen. Tom Davis from Beaufort. Senator Massey put up an amendment that closely mirrored the House version of the bill and there was a motion to table that failed by a vote of 24 to 20. That means the votes were present in the Senate to pass the bill the way it came from the House with the addition of rape and incest exceptions.
But just as in the US Senate, it takes 60 votes to end a filibuster, it takes 26 votes to end a filibuster in the South Carolina Senate. When the vote to end the filibuster was taken, we were two votes short and those pushing the filibuster refused to yield.
Next, Senator Massey put up an amended version of H5399 that is basically the Heartbeat Bill language with a Supreme Court “fix” that will hopefully cause the Supreme Court to reinstate the bill. It contains exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. It also has an exception for fetal anomaly where two doctors verify the baby cannot survive outside the womb. This version of the bill, which is completely different from the House version, passed. The bill bans state employees from using their insurance to pay for an abortion (unless it falls under one of the exceptions) and it defunds Planned Parenthood by saying “no funding directly or indirectly,” which means Title 10 money will be cut off. Planned Parenthood didn’t receive funding from the state budget in 2021-22 by proviso but now that exclusion would be codified into law if the bill passes as is.
So…where are we? We are back to a six week ban (that is the approximately when the heartbeat is detectable). However, the final Senate bill is so different from the House bill, I do not think there is any way the House will concur (agree to the bill). The House can take up the Senate version, change the language, and send it back to the Senate. If the Senate doesn’t agree ,then both chambers would have to agree to send the bill to a conference committee where they would work out their differences. A conference committee would be made up of members of both the House and the Senate. If both chambers don’t agree to a conference committee the bill dies.
Please pray our Legislators will work out their differences and find a way to pass a bill that bans abortion and protects life in South Carolina.
He must increase, I must decrease
Director of the Office of Public Policy