As I shared from the House Floor, I didn’t wake up Tuesday expecting to take the podium during this debate. But when I saw how the debate was going and how, once again, the chance to do something (ie, our job) was about to lose out to doing nothing (bill being defeated) – I had to speak up.
On the way to the State House , I wanted to thank y’all for responding to this year’s Legislative Survey and let you know: I heard you and I would be there for you. Overwhelmingly whether you identified as a “Trump Republican”, “Republican” or “Independent”, you wanted exceptions placed into the abortion bill for rape and incest. That’s how I voted and, ultimately, that’s what got into the bill that now heads to the Senate.
In the past few weeks, word was that there were going to be thousands of amendments placed on the desk and that this debate could go days, even into the weekend. That turned out not to be the case as we only had 20-25 amendments and debate was over by 7pm Tuesday night.
Early in debate two amendments to place exceptions were defeated… first only 25 supported , later 41 supported (we picked up more support when the reporting piece regarding rape was added to the earlier amendment). Ultimately after a 2 hour recess from the house floor, the House agreed to placing exceptions into the bill and the bill passed 67-38.
What was surprising (and I explain in video above) was that the Democrats voted against adding exceptions into the bill. Anyone in politics knows that the Democrats vote was not their true beliefs, instead it was their way to help accomplish their ultimate goal – defeating the bill . If the Democrats had kept exceptions off the bill, that bill would have never passed the Senate. If you’re confused, that happens sometimes in politics. You use the tools you’re given and the strategies you can to get the ultimate outcome you want. UNFORTUNATELY in this day and age of politics, is those votes that are used by opponents (usually primary opponents) to try to paint the official as “out of touch” or “not one of us”. What do I mean? A citizen wanting to run for office in a Democratic primary could take that vote and say “See. Representative Smith is out of touch. He voted to force women who were raped to have a baby”. (And that is not what most Democrats would believe).
I’m getting way into the weeds here, but that’s stuff you voters need to know. Don’t look at ONE vote from an official (especially when it’s highlighted on a campaign mail piece from opponent) and assume that’s the whole story.
Long story short, what was accomplished yesterday was this: saving a bill from dying ( it actually WAS defeated when it had no exceptions in it ) and sending a stronger bill than we had passed in 2021 with the SC Fetal Heartbeat Bill.
In layman’s terms:
The SC Fetal Heartbeat bill 2021 – banned abortions after 6 weeks except for rape or incest (allowed up to 20 weeks) or life of the mother
Recently that law had been “stayed” by the SC courts. That meant, Roe v. Wade was still law of the land.
So….do we pass nothing or do we pass something? Something that actually does more than what we did in 2021?
This bill which finally passed – bans abortions after Day One except for rate or incest (allowed now up to 12 weeks).
While some wanted NO EXCEPTIONS, that bill was never going to become law – much less pass the House . And had some Republicans not had the courage to “vote for exceptions” (against immense pressure from outside the chamber), the outcome would be WORSE in Republican eyes since we would have lost an opportunity to do something – even better than we did in 2021 – to protect life.
In the end, to those who said if you add exceptions, you are not pro-life, you now see that is far from reality. You now can see how this new bill is the strongest pro-life bill ever passed in South Carolina.
The end justifies the means and, again, cooler heads prevailed in the Republican Caucus. For those in SC who consider themselves pro-life, you now have an even stronger bill than you did in 2021.