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Anti-Choice Legislative Agenda Laid Out in South Carolina

Nina Liss-Schultz

South Carolina lawmakers, in their first opportunity to pre-file bills ahead of the 2015-2016 legislative session, last week submitted at least eight anti-choice bills to be taken up next year, featuring an array of radical abortion restrictions pushed by anti-choice legislators across the country.

South Carolina lawmakers, in their first opportunity to pre-file bills ahead of the 2015-2016 legislative session, last week submitted at least eight anti-choice bills to be taken up next year, featuring an array of radical abortion restrictions pushed by anti-choice legislators across the country.

State Sens. Kevin Bryant, Larry Grooms, and Lee Bright, all Republican, were together responsible for the eight bills filed last week. The bills include at least one “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which bans abortion after 20 weeks of conception, and a fetal-heartbeat abortion ban that would outlaw abortion after the detection of a heartbeat, or as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

Republicans also pre-filed a ban on medication abortion in most cases and a restriction on how they are performed in those cases, an admitting privileges law, and a ban on state health insurance plans from being used to get an abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman’s health is in danger.

Forty-six percent of South Carolinians are in favor of a 20-week abortion ban, while 43 percent oppose such restrictions, according to a poll released in April. The poll’s results fell within the 3.3 percent margin of error.

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All of these South Carolina anti-choice bills rest on inaccurate information and myths about pregnancy and fetal harm, under the guise of helping women and families. A federal judge last spring struck down a fetal heartbeat ban in North Dakota similar to the one filed last week in South Carolina.

Several of the bills would ban abortion at different points during pregnancy, but Bright, who pre-filed six of the eight bills, told the Huffington Post that he’s waiting to “see which [bill] gets the most traction.”

This year, South Carolina managed to end its legislative session without enacting any restrictions on abortion.

Alyssa Miller, the South Carolina public affairs director at Planned Parenthood Health Systems, said in a Facebook statement that she wishes the state would stop spending its time on unconstitutional legislation.

“Given South Carolina’s high rates of sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy and teen births, it is time to focus on putting prevention first, rather than working to restrict access to care,” she said.

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