A South Carolina state Senator has reintroduced a bill that would ban abortions and potentially make it a crime to get one.
Republican Sen. Richard Cash introduced the “personhood” bill, which would grant legal status to the idea that life starts at the moment of conception. The bill would ban almost all abortions in the state.
The bill includes exceptions for medical emergencies that threaten the mother’s life.
It would also make it a potential felony crime to solicit or perform an abortion.
“It’s an intention to recriminalize the killing of unborn babies in this state,” Cash told The State of his bill. “When you kill an unborn baby in the womb, that doctor is committing murder.”
Cash said the bill leaves the decision to charge women who get abortions with a crime up to law enforcement officers and prosecutors.
“There is no doubt that many women are pressured (into having an abortion),” Cash said. “They’re coerced. They’re intimidated. They’re literally threatened. … But if we say a mother is simply a victim … then we, in fact, are denying … moral responsibility to someone for their decision.”
The bill, the Personhood Act, is S.485, according to WIS. However, the South Carolina website page for the bill doesn’t appear to have been updated.
State Sen. Dick Cash says he plans to file Personhood Bill that would criminalize all abortions in South Carolina, “not just a declaration that life begins at fertilization.” #scpol pic.twitter.com/0W9jFYCIKr
— Tom Barton (@tjbarton83) February 6, 2019
A similar bill was introduced last year but failed after Democrats filibustered it.
Previously, Cash told The State that he believes life begins at conception and thus should be afforded the rights provided of every citizen.
“From the moment life begins, it should be protected, as an inalienable right under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments,” Cash said. “I do believe in a moral absolute of right and wrong, and the shedding of innocent blood is a moral evil we need to turn away from.”
In a poll by Winthrop University of South Carolina residents, 45 percent of respondents said abortion should be illegal except for a few circumstances, such as when a mother’s life is at risk or in cases or rape or incest, reported The State. Further, 68 percent said it should be illegal if the only factor is whether the other or family could afford to raise a child.
If approved, the legislation would allow the possibility for prosecutors to pursue a criminal case against individuals who willfully perform abortions. https://t.co/qRhMnbTVUx
— Wes Cooper (@WesWJBF) February 7, 2019
Republican Gov. Henry McMaster supports Cash’s bill and at a rally on Wednesday requested lawmakers to vote for it.
“You send me that clear, concise perfect, Personhood bill and I will sign it into law,” he told lawmakers at the rally, reported WIS.
Another pro-life bill, the Personhood Act of SC, was introduced by Rep. Josiah Magnuson, also a Republican, in the House. It’s similar to legislation introduced in 2017 by a state Senator and would grant legal rights to unborn babies starting at conception but includes several exceptions.
GOP Sen. Richard Cash says doctors should be charged with murder for performing an abortion. He wants to charge the pregnant woman as well for having one. Nurses, parents of the mother be charged as accomplices, he says. “This is a conversation that the state must have.” pic.twitter.com/fNUdjwSkhs
— Avery Wilks (@AveryGWilks) February 6, 2019
Abortion, Anti-Abortion Moves
The bills are the latest in a wave of states across the nation attempting to restrict or expand abortion.
In Ohio, lawmakers have been trying to pass a “heartbeat” bill that would prohibit abortions after a fetus has a detectable heartbeat. The new Ohio Gov., Mike DeWine, said in January that he would sign such a bill if the Legislature passed it, after former Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed the bill in December 2018 before leaving office.
On the same day, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that would allow abortions up until the moment of birth, calling the passage a “historic victory for New Yorkers and for our progressive values.”
Virginia lawmakers tried to pass a bill that would also allow abortions up until birth with the consent of just one doctor, but the bill was shot down. Speaking in support of the legislation, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam described a scenario in which a baby is born and the doctor and mother discuss whether to let it live.
President Donald Trump responded to the controversial comments during his State of the Union speech on Feb. 5, saying Northam “stated he would execute a baby after birth.”
“Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth,” he said. “These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world.”