COLUMBIA, S.C. — An amendment to a dismemberment abortion ban bill that would have outlawed any method of abortion in South Carolina—with exceptions—was sent back to committee early Friday morning following an hours-long filibuster by opposing Democrats.
The Senate initially voted 28-10 in favor of the amendment on Wednesday, but the following day, Democrats stalled the matter by holding the floor so long that the proposal was voted to be tabled.
“It is unlawful for a physician to knowingly perform or attempt to perform an abortion and thereby kill an unborn child unless the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or the abortion is necessary to prevent serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother,” Amendment 164, also known as the “South Carolina Unborn Child Protection from Abortion Act,” read.
At approximately 1 p.m., Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston, took the floor and talked for six hours. He then handed the filibuster over to Sen. Margie Bright Matthews, D-Walterboro, followed by Sen. Mike Fanning, D-Fairfield.
Republican leaders of the House had also vowed to oppose the bill should it pass the Senate, as the local newspaper The State reports that House Majority Leader Gary Simrill, R-York, advised that he would “push the House to reject the ban” and instead focus on the original dismemberment abortion prohibition.
He called the amendment banning abortion by any method a “diversion from the real issue of protecting unborn children from a barbaric procedure that allows for dismemberment in the womb.”
“Unless Roe v. Wade is overturned, the General Assembly must work within existing legal parameters to increase protections for the life of the unborn, rather than knowingly pass unconstitutional legislation,” Simrill asserted.
However, Sen. Richard Cash said that only outlawing dismemberment abortions would still allow thousands of unborn babies to be killed in the state, and lawmakers rather need to get to the heart of the matter: to stop murder altogether.
“The fundamental issue is an innocent human being is being killed,” he explained.
Others similarly said that now is the time to challenge the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade.
“We need to find a good vehicle to allow the Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade, and this is a great vehicle,” Sen. William Timmons, R-Greenville, told The Herald Sun.
Following the hours-long filibuster, the Senate voted 24-21 at 1 a.m. to send the bill back to the medical affairs committee, thus killing the effort for the rest of the legislative session. The Post and Courier reports that five Republicans joined Democrats in voting to table the legislation: Chip Campsen, Katrina Shealy, Hugh Leatherman, Greg Gregory and Luke Rankin.
“I’m just extremely disappointed,” lamented Lt. Governor Kevin Bryant. “The rights and the life and liberty of the unborn were set way, way back just now.”
As previously reported, in an introductory lecture to his course on obstetrics in 1854, Philadelphia Dr. Hugh Lennox Hodge said:
“So low, gentleman, is the moral sense of community on this subject. So ignorant are even the greater number of individuals, that even mothers in many instances shrink not at the commission of this crime, but will voluntarily destroy their own progeny, in violation of every natural sentiment, and in opposition to the laws of God and man.”
“The procuring abortion is ‘a base and unmanly act,’” Hodge also stated, quoting in part text from a court ruling of his day. “It is a crime against the natural feelings of man, against the welfare and safety of females, against the peace and prosperity of society, against the divine command ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ It is murder.”