Eight South Carolina Republicans have rescinded their support for a controversial abortion bill that proposes to punish women who submit to it just as harshly as murderers, after some questioned whether it could lead to the death penalty.
The bill, titled the South Carolina Equal Prenatal Protection Act of 2023, seeks to classify abortions as homicides and punish women who undergo them in the same way as convicted murderers. The legislation does not provide exceptions for rape or incest.
It was proposed by Rep. Rob Harris in January and quietly gathered support in the House Legislature until this week, when it caught the attention of pro-choice activists and the media.
The text of the legislation is not explicit: it does not establish that women must receive the death penalty, but it says: “The execution is subject to the same presumptions, defenses, justifications, laws of parties, immunities and clemencies that would apply to the homicide of a person who was born alive.’
‘Attorneys and AG will have concurrent authority to prosecute criminal cases.’
FOR: Rep. Ashley Trantham (left) and Rep. April Cromer are the sole female sponsors of the controversial bill, which proposes the most extreme punishment to date for women who have abortions
In South Carolina, the death penalty is applied in murder cases involving aggravating factors.
One of those factors is whether the victim is a child under the age of 10.
Bill sponsor: Rep. Rob Harris says the bill boils down to classifying a fertilized egg as a human life
In practice, a judge or jury would have to hand down the sentence if a woman is prosecuted, and it is unclear whether any prosecutor would actually bring such strong charges if the bill were to pass.
However, some of the Republicans who voiced their initial support are backing down, admitting they didn’t realize his end.
‘I did not understand that this was included in this bill.
‘I do not support capital punishment for women who terminate their pregnancy.
“I don’t stand by this part of the legislation,” Rep. Randy Ligon told The Huffington Post earlier this week.
David Vaughan, Fawn Pedalino, Brian Lawson, Patrick Haddon, Mark Willis, Kathy Landing, and Matthew Leber have also terminated their sponsorship of the bill.
Neither responded to inquiries from DailyMail.com about their U-turn on Wednesday.
Sixteen Republicans remain in favor of the bill, and their names are still listed as sponsors.
Yesterday, six Republicans who initially supported the bill rescinded their support. sixteen still in favor
They are James Burns, Bill Chumley, Jordan Pace, Roger Nutt, Thomas Beach, Stewart O. Jones, Brian White, Stephen Wayne Long, David O’Neal, Josiah Magnuson, Ryan McAbe, Ashley Trantham, Jay Kilmartin, Brandon Guffey and April . Cromer.
Rep. Fawn Pedalino, who had supported the bill, rescinded her sponsorship.
Harris, who introduced the bill, said South Carolina has become a “destination for abortion.”
‘We have a problem with abortion, we do not respect all life.
‘So what my bill does uniquely is that it protects all of life by defining life at the moment of conception. We have to ask ourselves as a culture, do we believe that life begins at conception or not?
‘The ramifications of that are the same for anyone else who takes another life.’
In an email to DailyMail.com, Rep. Stephen Wayne Long defended his support.
‘The bill establishes equal protection for the unborn by defining life as beginning at conception and criminalizing abortion.
“The penalty would be the same for killing an 8-month-old unborn person as it would be for killing an 8-month-old child.”
He added: “In practical terms, I don’t see a situation where the death penalty is sought or a verdict is handed down.”
Governor McMaster has already expressed his opinion on the bill.
If passed, you would have to pass it for it to become law.
The bill contains the most extreme proposal on how to punish women seeking abortions in a post Roe v. Wade America.
In Texas, doctors who perform abortions face life in prison or fines of up to $100,000.