HOUSE FLOOR REVIEW
February 16, 2023
The House has approved, and sent to the Senate, H. 3774 the “Human Life Protection Act.”
Among other things, it would declare that life begins at conception. It would prohibit anyone from knowingly providing drugs to a pregnant female to cause an abortion, except in emergency situations.
However, it would not prevent a licensed physician, who fills out appropriate paperwork, from performing an abortion in cases where a pregnancy results from incidents of rape or incest. Physicians would be required to obtain and preserve a DNA sample in these cases. Doctors performing these procedures would have to inform a pregnant woman they will, and then, report these crimes to the county sheriff where the procedures are performed, within 24 hours of completing them, and note they made these reports on the medical chart for the pregnant woman.
A procedure also would be permitted if a fatal fetal anomaly is present, if it is needed to prevent the death of a pregnant woman, if it will abate the substantial risk to any pregnant woman who has one or more of the physical conditions listed in this bill that put her in harm’s way to give birth, or if a substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function would result if a mother gives birth. This physical impairment could not be psychological or emotional. Nevertheless, before these procedures are undertaken, efforts must be taken to save the fetus’s life, when possible. In addition, two doctors must certify that a qualifying condition is present.
Contraceptives, in vitro fertilization [IVF], and other assistive reproduction technologies are not subject to the prohibitions in this bill. The State Health Plan cannot be used to pay for any prohibited abortion procedures or medicines (except as provided).
Violators of any prohibitions, including anyone intimidating a pregnant woman into having an abortion, could be prosecuted for committing a felony, and would face up to two years in prison, and fines of up to $10,000. Violators also would face civil liability for statutory, actual, and punitive damages as well as restraining orders initiated by law enforcement, the pregnant woman, or the pregnant woman’s parents if she has not yet reached 18 years of age. If an order issues, then these parties can recover their attorney fees and costs. Medical professionals also face disciplinary action, including potential revocation of their licenses, as well as having to pay the costs of any investigations, fines, or other professional disciplinary actions when they violate any listed restrictions.
Pregnant women are shielded from being held criminally or civilly liable.
In addition, the biological father would be responsible for paying 50 percent of the birth mother’s pregnancy expenses from the time of conception, in addition to having to pay child support, which would be calculated from the date of conception. Public funds could not be used to purchase fetal tissue, and no public funds could be use by the Planned Parenthood organization.
The House gave third reading and sent to the Senate H. 3269. Upon recommendation by the Legislation Oversight Committee, the legislation repeals a section of the S. C. Code, relating to the publication of descriptions of uniforms and emblems by the Department of Natural Resources. The section is no longer necessary.