April 04, 2006

Republican State Senators choose not to pass Right to Life Act of SC

“We (supporters of limits) basically got together and decided abortion wouldn’t be an issue this year,” Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, said of supporters of limiting abortion. “Had we known South Dakota would have done what they did, there would have been thoughtful consideration on testing the waters here, I assure you.”

The Right to Life Act of SC (H3213, sponsored by Rep. Davenport) passed the SC House last year on April 14, 2005 (albeit with a fatal flaw rape exception amendment). It now sits in a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee chaired by Senator Jim Ritchie (R-Spartanburg), along with Senator Mike Fair's unamended companion bill (S.111). Two hearings were conducted by Senator Ritchie last May 2005 on the Right to Life Act of SC. There are now about two months remaining in the 2006 SC Legislative session (adjourn first week in June).

So why are Senator Fair and Senator Ritchie not working to pass a bill in the two months remaining of the 2006 Legislative session that has already made it through the SC House (for the first time since it was first introduced in the SC House by Rep. Terry Haskins, and by Senator Mike Fair in the SC Senate, both in 1998) ?

Contact Senator Mike Fair and Senator Jim Ritchie (www.scstatehouse.net) and ask them not to wait until another 6,500 or so pre-birth human beings are murdered in South Carolina over the course of another year.

Murder is always an issue with God (Genesis 4:10, Exodus 20:13). And so is Justice (Genesis 9:6).

Senators, please pass the Right to Life Act of SC, with no "exceptions", now !!!

Steve Lefemine, pro-life missionary
dir., Columbia Christians for Life
Columbia, South Carolina
www.ChristianLifeandLiberty.net (click on 'RTL ACT of SC' button)
April 4, 2006

To: Columbia Christians for Life CCL@ChristianLifeandLiberty.net
From: Columbia Christians for Life CCL@ChristianLifeandLiberty.net
Subject: Abortion-ban fight looms in ’07


Posted on Sun, Mar. 19, 2006

Abortion-ban fight looms in ’07

Measures similar to South Dakota’s to limit abortions here not a priority ­ yet



Abortion opponents say it will be next year before S.C. lawmakers aim to crack down on the procedure in the Palmetto State.

Other Southern states, including Tennessee and Mississippi, have lined up to pass laws that all but ban abortions. Those moves come as South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds signed legislation this month banning abortions except to save the life of the mother.

The Palmetto State hasn’t followed suit.

That’s because other issues are receiving legislators’ attention. This election-year session finds the state under a nettlesome court order to boost early childhood education and absorbed with a focus on delivering tax relief to property owners, among other items.

Couple that with a drop of more than 50 percent in the number of induced abortions since a 1988 peak, and abortion ­ which some describe as the pre-eminent moral issue of the time ­ sits on the back burner.

“We (supporters of limits) basically got together and decided abortion wouldn’t be an issue this year,” Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, said of supporters of limiting abortion. “Had we known South Dakota would have done what they did, there would have been thoughtful consideration on testing the waters here, I assure you.”

Next year, anti-abortion legislators may look to take broad steps. In addition to legislation that might arise from South Dakota’s move, lawmakers say they’ll look to establish the human rights for fetuses from the moment of fertilization.

This session, lawmakers appear to be content with smaller steps on the issues of “life.”

For example, one bill would allow criminal prosecution of a suspect if a child is harmed or killed in the uterus at any point of development. Some abortion rights advocates fear even such smaller steps would have large implications.


Abortion opponents designed South Dakota’s new law specifically to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which recognizes that women have the right to end a pregnancy.

With the addition of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito to the court, some abortion opponents say the time is right to challenge Roe.

South Dakota’s law allows an abortion only if the mother’s life is at stake, eliminating provisions for cases of rape and incest. Critics question whether the law is constitutional.

Roe overturned all state laws that either outlawed or restricted abortion. It is among the most contentious rulings ever.

South Carolina, considered a socially conservative state, generally has stuck to the guidelines of Roe. Abortions are permitted in the first and second trimesters. But in the third trimester, when fetal viability is presumed, abortion is legal only if the life of the mother is at stake. The state also imposes other restrictions, such as parental notification.

Still, the state does not have a so-called “trigger law,” as at least 15 other states do, to ban abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe.


Both abortion proponents and opponents both claim credit for the decline in abortions.

Statistics show the number of abortion procedures drops when anti-abortion legislation is introduced, said Lisa Van Riper, executive director of South Carolina Citizens for Life, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating abortion.

Planned Parenthood sees it differently.

Education improvements, more knowledge about safe and healthy sex, the development of emergency contraceptives and better family planning have led to the drop, said Christopher Hollis, vice president for Planned Parenthood Health Systems, covering North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia.

Some also suspect there are fewer abortions in South Carolina and elsewhere because of a dwindling number of convenient medical clinics. Planned Parenthood, for instance, now has a single S.C. clinic, in Columbia. In the past, it had several S.C. clinics.


While South Carolina largely watches the national debate, at least one bill won’t leave lawmakers on the sidelines.

The “Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2006,” sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, and in the House by Rep. Gloria Haskins, R-Greenville, is not an abortion bill per se but a fetal homicide bill.

But a coalition of abortion proponents is rallying against the proposal, calling it a back-door approach to limiting choice.

It would establish a separate punishment for a person who injures or kills a fetus as the result of a violent crime, just as the perpetrator would be punished for harming the mother. The bill passed the Senate this month and sits in the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill is fashioned after the 2004 federal statute known as “Laci and Conner’s Law” that was co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and signed into law by President Bush.

Laci Peterson, 28, was killed in 2002 by her husband, Scott Peterson, in California, when she was eight months pregnant. Convicted under California law, Peterson was found guilty of first-degree murder of his wife and second-degree murder of their unborn son, Conner.

About 20 states have similar fetal homicide laws that make it punishable to harm a fetus during development.

South Carolina is among a group of states that consider it a homicide to kill an unborn child after a certain period of gestation ­ in this case, after what is called viability, or the end of the second trimester.

Haskins’ bill would give unborn victims “full coverage,” meaning the fetus would be protected from violent harm or death at all stages of development. The bill would exempt legal abortions.

“At first blush, it seems to protect pregnant women, and we certainly want to protect everyone from violence,” said Planned Parenthood’s Hollis.

But Haskins’ bill could produce an adversarial legal relationship between the mother and embryo, Hollis said.

Haskins disagrees. The bill confronts the fact that a fetus destroyed by violence to the mother has protections, she said, and it is not about abortion.

Still, some abortion rights proponents who supported the bill in the Senate now say they want the bill rewritten.

“Even though there is language in this bill pretending to protect women’s rights, the actual legislative intent of the Senate has been made public ­ to overturn the constitutional right to an abortion,” said Bonnie K. Adams, executive director of New Morning Foundation, a group that works to decrease teen pregnancies in the state.


South Dakota’s crackdown has all eyes focused on the Supreme Court, which is set to decide later this year on a “partial-birth” abortion ban in Nebraska.

Under the procedure, usually carried out later in a pregnancy, the fetus is removed partially from the womb, and the skull is broken or punctured. South Carolina bans the procedure.

As the national debate unfolds, the 2007 session of the General Assembly is likely to see a renewed push for the “Right to Life Act of South Carolina.”

Sponsored by Fair, the bill would give a fetus due process and equal protection rights at the moment of fertilization. Fair’s aim is to limit abortion rights.

“We’ve just sort of chipped away at the abortion law ... over the years,” Fair said.

A similar bill, sponsored by Rep. Guy Ralph Davenport, R-Spartanburg, passed the House in 2005 but stalled in the Senate. It’s not moving now.

State Attorney General Henry McMaster issued a legal opinion on the bill last year, concluding it is constitutional. McMaster wrote the bill does not mention abortion and could not be used to deny the “constitutional right to privacy” set forth in Roe v. Wade.

Van Riper, of the S.C. Center for Life, said two separate issues are under consideration.“How do we regard what is in the womb, and how do we treat it as a society, that’s one,” she said. “Then, are there any circumstances under which a woman may end that life without penalty?”

Abortion rights supporters are combating “unfounded fears,” over the preservation of life, Van Riper said.

“We’re not saying the sky is falling,” said Hollis of Planned Parenthood. “We’re just saying we are concerned about it.”

Reach Burris at (803) 771-8398.

© 2006 The State and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

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