COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — Two abortion related bills are moving through the South Carolina State House.
The Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee voted Wednesday to move forward with the two bills after hearing from supporters and critics of the legislation. The three Republicans on the subcommittee voted in favor and the two Democrats against.
One of the bill’s sponsor Sen. Richard Cash (R-Anderson) said S.988, which would ban almost all abortions in the state, would be a trigger law. It would take effect if the US Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
He said, “If Roe v. Wade acknowledges the authority of South Carolina to regulate abortion to the extent of this bill does at that point this bill would go into effect. It’s a trigger law because it depends on the state’s authority of regulating abortion being acknowledged by the Supreme Court.”
About 20 other states have laws like these on the books.
The legislation would also charge a doctor with murder if they perform an abortion. Exceptions for rape and incest are not included in the bill. Doctors who spoke against the bill said this total abortion ban would harm their patients.
One doctor said, “Pregnancy exacerbates chronic conditions and can also cause new conditions. This bill only allows terminations for immediate life-threatening emergencies. How do we get to decide what is immediate?”
The other bill advanced Wednesday would require physicians in the state to include information about medical abortion reversal options when prescribing mifepristone. One woman who says she took medicine to reverse her medical abortion said this would let women know about their options.
She told lawmakers, “I just want there to be an option for woman like me who don’t get an option or choice from Planned Parenthood. We weren’t told anything. I had to go online. I had to scroll around. I was feeling dreadful.”
Medical professionals who testified against the bill said it would provide patients with misinformation. They said the drug being used for abortion reversal isn’t approved by the FDA for that use.
One OB/GYN said, “This bill is saying the South Carolina legislative body knows more about OG/BYN care than I do. The South Carolina legislature has put untrue words in my mouth. To me that’s incomprehensible offensive and unethical.”
Before Wednesday morning’s meeting, there was already controversy. Close to 100 people were signed up to speak but about two dozen were chosen to speak Wednesday. Staff said the meeting was also not livestreamed on the State House website due to room scheduling conflicts.
The bills have been sent to the full Senate Medical Affairs Committee.