Republicans in South Carolina Have Proposed Legislation That May Subject Abortion-Seeking Women To The Capital Penalty.

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Abortion rights supporters at the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia on May 2.Photo byJoshua Boucher /The State via Getty Images file

Republicans in South Carolina are pushing legislation that would include abortionists in the state's murder statutes, which includes the death sentence. According to the South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act, a fetus who suffers homicide has a right to equal protection under the state's homicide statutes. The Act as it is now written defines a "person" as a "child at every stage of development from fertilization to birth."

But there are some exceptions, like when the mother has an abortion because she faces a high probability of death or severe harm to her body or when a licensed doctor performs the abortion to save the pregnant woman's life but accidentally harms or kills the unborn child in the process because every other means to protect the unborn child's life have either been tried or are not available. The principal proponent of the bill is state representative Rob Harris, who worked as a licensed nurse for over 30 years before being elected to the Legislature. There are no exclusions for rape or incest in the proposed statute.

In January, South Carolina House of Representatives Republicans presented a measure and forwarded it for review to the House Judiciary Committee. More than a dozen Republican lawmakers have backed the idea, but no comparable legislation has been submitted in the upper house, where the Republican Party also maintains a majority. Republican Henry McMaster is the governor. Even though the South Carolina House has not yet taken any action on the proposed legislation, in light of recent moves in other states to implement tighter abortion laws, it has garnered a lot of attention. A lawsuit against the FDA's approval of mifepristone, one of two medications used to end pregnancies, was being heard in a Texas court.


S.C. Republicans propose bill that could subject women who have abortions to the death penalty. (2023, March 15). NBC News.

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