Abortion protest at Charleston City Hall, June 25 | Photo by Chelsea Grinstead

An Upstate Republican reportedly concerned about when life begins has proposed a controversial bill that calls for women who get abortions in South Carolina to possibly face the death penalty.

According to The State newspaper, a bill called the “South Carolina Pre-Natal Equal Protection Act would ‘afford equal protection of the laws to all preborn children from the moment of fertilization,’ and reclassify any act that ends a pregnancy as ‘willful prenatal homicide.’ Under the bill, an abortion could be punished like any murder, leading to sentences of 30 years in prison up to the death penalty.”

The bill, sponsored by S.C. GOP Rep. Rob Harris of Spartanburg, would exempt women from prosecution who aborted if they were under “the threat of imminent death or great bodily injury.” The bill has garnered 16 co-sponsors in the S.C. House. It is currently awaiting action by the House Judiciary Committee.

Harris is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, a far right group of legislators in the S.C. Statehouse that frequently wars with other Republicans they deem “extreme moderates.” The proposal has drawn ire from U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace, R-Charleston, who blasted the proposal on the U.S. House floor last week. 

The bill follows landmark court rulings in the last year, including the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last summer to overturn Roe v. Wade, a federal court case that established protections for women seeking access to abortion. 

CP OPINION: Police agencies still violating the law on S.C.’s open records

“You’d think area police agencies would follow the law when it comes to providing the public with information it is legally required to offer. But more than a year after we wrote about how area police routinely erect information barriers that violate legal standards for providing information, they continue to dodge the law.”

In other headlines:

A look inside Charleston’s Irish culture, past and present. St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. It’s time to don the color green, sip Guinness and spend the day with loved ones. In honor of the Holy City’s generations of Irish culture, here are some fun options to celebrate the revered holiday and a shallow dive into the city’s Irish history.

Bright new billboards celebrate LGBTQ+ people in Charleston. Seven bright yellow billboards touting “God loves trans kids” and “God loves LGBTQ+ people” are the backbone of a new statewide awareness campaign unveiled Tuesday by the Charleston nonprofit Alliance for Full Acceptance (AFFA).

TEDx Charleston aims to inspire. TEDx Charleston returns to the Charleston Music Hall March 29 with lectures and performances by local speakers and artists. Local speakers will give 10-minute talks covering a variety of topics, including the role of public libraries, gun violence, choosing good advice and teen suicide.

Step inside history during Charleston Festival of Houses and Gardens. Peek past iron gates and enter the lush, tucked-away gardens of historic Charleston homes. Open front doors and explore the insides of these painstakingly preserved houses, some dating back to the mid- to late-1700s.

S.C. House’s $13.8B budget debate slowed by Republican infighting. The debate in the South Carolina House over the state’s $13.8 billion spending plan for the next fiscal year didn’t go as smoothly as previous years.

Beeple Studios’ opening in Charleston indicative of city’s role in global art shakeup. Mike Winkelmann aka Beeple ushered in a new chapter of his high-profile emergence in the art world with the opening of Beeple Studios on March 11. It is a multimillion dollar project.  Photo essay.

Task force recommends CCSD teachers get starting salary of $58k. Charleston County School District board members were supportive of a task force’s proposal to significantly raise teacher pay, but so far, there’s been no plan made to implement an increase.

Lowcountry gets more than $5.7M for drainage projects. The South Carolina Office of Resilience on Tuesday announced that two Lowcountry cities will receive grants as part of the American Rescue Plan Act Stormwater Infrastructure Program.

  • To get dozens of South Carolina news stories every business day, contact the folks at SC Clips.

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