Nancy Mace | File photo

When politicians perceive they may be in trouble, they often start acting like octopi. Instead of squirting ink to muddy waters to confuse predators and escape, politicians ramp up distracting rhetoric to shroud, obfuscate and blur pesky issues, all the while hoping — and maybe praying — voters forget their real record.

Case in point: The politics of abortion. For almost 50 years, Republicans in South Carolina and around the country continually ratcheted up the rhetoric about abortion. It was easy for them to mouth off because abortion was constitutionally protected with the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. That constitutional protection allowed zealots to make one outrageous proposal after another, eventually including proposals for total bans on the health care procedure. Many of them never really figured the political landscape would change.

Ah, how the chickens have come home to roost. Now many are squirming because they’re reading polls, tea leaves and a recent statewide referendum in conservative Kansas where a lot of the abortion rhetoric started. Almost 60% of voters sent a clear message they did not support a state constitutional amendment calling for no right to abortion in the state.

“What’s the rush?” one Aiken Republican House member recently asked in a constituent email about a renewed push for a total abortion ban in South Carolina. Another state senator told the Associated Press this month, “It’s like you are playing with live ammunition right now.”

So it’s not surprising that South Carolina GOP politicians like First District Congresswoman Nancy Mace are looking for some wiggle room. In recent days, she’s tweeted to remind people the Republican Party supports exceptions of rape, incest and the life of a mother for abortion bans. She’s quoted about how she pressed fellow Republicans in 2019 in the S.C. House to add exceptions to the fetal heartbeat ban that eventually became law. 

So it’s with great interest we see Mace’s doubletalk in a recent story in The Washington Post: “If we are going to ban abortion, there are things we’ve got to do to make sure the need for abortion is reduced, and that women are not endangered.”

Hogwash. It’s a spin. What Mace clearly is trying to do is to get voters in the purple Lowcountry to think she wants to help women. But she’s really hoping enough forget she voted and supported a fetal heartbeat abortion ban. Even though the bill that became state law includes exceptions, Mace is complicit in moving forward the debate so that women in the state today have to leave South Carolina if they want to receive surgical abortions. 

South Carolina’s current abortion ban makes life more dangerous for her women. Many may be forced to have unwanted children. Others may not be able to get the kind of health care they choose because of legislative anti-abortion enablers like Mace and her Republican colleagues.

As the election approaches, Mace is sweating because her Democratic opponent, Dr. Annie Andrews of Mount Pleasant, is making access to women’s reproductive health care a top issue in the 2022 campaign. 

Don’t let the ink that Mace is squirting divert you from the truth: Mace supports banning a woman’s right to choose how she wants to be treated by her doctor. Keep that in mind at the polls.

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