South Carolina lawmakers are deliberating on a bill called the “South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act of 2023.” The proposed legislation seeks to change the state's legal definition of “person” to encompass a fertilized egg at the moment of conception. This will ensure that a zygote receives “equal protection under the homicide laws of the state” and can face the most severe punishment, including capital punishment.
A Controversial Bill
If the bill passes, a woman who obtains an abortion in South Carolina may face the death penalty. This measure represents a significant shift in the state's abortion policies and has sparked a contentious debate. While some believe that a fetus's life is equal to that of a person, others argue that this measure is unconstitutional and inhumane.
Regardless of the outcome, this legislation has the potential to shape the state's legal landscape for years to come.
A proposed bill in South Carolina known as the “South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act of 2023” has garnered the support of 21 co-sponsors, including its author, Rep. Rob Harris, a registered nurse and member of the Freedom Caucus. The proposed legislation seeks to redefine the term “person” in the state's legal code to include a fertilized egg at the point of conception, effectively affording a zygote “equal protection under the homicide laws of the state” up to and including the death penalty.
The bill has generated controversy, with some lawmakers expressing concern that it could be used to prosecute women who have abortions in South Carolina. Rep. Nancy Mace, a Republican who represents the state in the U.S. House, took to the floor to express her unease with the proposal.
Mace believes that the debate surrounding abortion should be balanced and bipartisan, focusing on the rights of women as well as the right to life.
When asked about exceptions for victims of rape, Harris noted that the bill includes a “duress” defense for women who are pressured or threatened to have an abortion, as well as medical care to save the mother's life. However, he argued that bills with exceptions do little to protect the lives of pre-born children.
Despite the controversy, Harris remains committed to the bill, asserting that the murder of the pre-born is a harsh reality that demands a strong response. The proposed legislation has attracted attention from both sides of the political aisle and is likely to shape the legal landscape in South Carolina for years to come.
South Carolina's Republican lawmakers in both the House and Senate have been unable to agree on new abortion restrictions since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. The House GOP is advocating for an immediate ban on abortion at conception, while the Senate GOP majority has proposed a ban at around six weeks gestation.
Currently, South Carolina permits abortion up to 21 weeks and 6 days. However, a law passed in 2021 that sought to ban abortion at six weeks was invalidated by the state's Supreme Court in January. Additionally, the state prohibits self-managed abortions, which involve obtaining medication to end a pregnancy without a doctor's oversight.
Violators of this law may face up to two years in prison and a fine of $1000. In recent news, a Greenville woman was arrested earlier this month for taking pills to end a pregnancy in 2021.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.