After Planned Parenthood Health Systems released a poll finding that a majority of South Carolina voters oppose 20-week abortion bans once they understand the real-world reasons for seeking later abortion, state Sen. Mike Fair (R-Greenville) dismissed the poll’s findings and compared Planned Parenthood to Hitler.
“I have no more confidence in Planned Parenthood than I do in Adolf Hitler, if he were around, to ask about whether his signature is binding,” Fair said. “He would say, ‘Yeah, it is.’ It’s not, it wasn’t. He, by the way, had the same philosophy of Planned Parenthood and that is that some people deserve to live more than other people based on what the culture says.”
Conducted by Public Policy on behalf of Planned Parenthood, the poll asked voters in three state senate districts whether they would support access to abortion after 20 weeks, after informing them that such abortions are very rare (about 1 percent of all abortions) and often involve fetal anomalies.
South Carolina is currently pursuing a 20-week ban on abortion that would harm women who are seeking the procedure for medical reasons. The state’s stand-alone abortion clinics do not perform the procedure after 14 weeks, which means that only hospitals perform later abortions as it is. And since the bill only provides an exception to preserve the woman’s life, women whose long-term health is threatened, or who are carrying a fetus with fatal abnormalities, would not be able to access safe abortion care.
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A majority of voters across party lines said that such bans are the wrong issue for legislators to be spending time on.
In Republican Sen. Ray Cleary’s district in Georgetown, 65 percent of respondents said that abortion should be legal after 20 weeks if a woman’s long-term health would be put at risk. In Columbia, which is represented by Senate President Pro Tempore John Courson (R)
, 67 percent of respondents said abortion should be legal after 20 weeks if the fetus is not yet viable, and the woman and her family should be able to determine that she should not continue her pregnancy due to her health and personal circumstances. Fifty percent of voters surveyed in Gaffney, in the district represented by Republican Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler , said abortion after 20 weeks should be legal in cases of rape or incest.
When asked about Sen. Fair’s Hitler comment, Melissa Reed, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood Health Systems Action Fund, told Rewire in an email, “Unlike Sen. Fair, we replace fear with facts, and misinformation with education.”
“Planned Parenthood believes, as do South Carolina voters, that the decision to choose adoption, end a pregnancy, or raise a child is best left to a woman, her family and her faith—not her South Carolina legislator,” she said.