Gavel
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Because Republicans picked up three S.C. Senate seats in the 2020 elections, they’ll work to pass stricter legislation related to abortion, according to Senate President Harvey Peeler, R-Gaffney. 

The battle will come early and likely will involve the so-called “fetal heartbeat” legislation, which permits abortion only in rare circumstances. 

“I feel optimistic that we will move forward for a pro-life bill early on in the session.” he said. 

Peeler said he could not predict how extensively the bill would limit abortion, but did allow that the Senate’s Medical Affairs Committee will stay busy this year.

But Senate Minority Leader Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, questioned the annual push, which fails year after year and takes up a lot of floor time that could be devoted to issues that impact people hurting across the state.

“We, of course, would like to focus on education and health care,” Hutto said.  “They, apparently, would rather focus on something else. I’m hoping we’ll get to a general discussion about the state of our children and how they’ve fared through the pandemic, [and] the state of our economy and how we got a lot of people that are out of work and small businesses that have closed. 

“I think the people of South Carolina expect us to get up here and do work that will be productive toward getting everybody back to whatever the new normal is going to be. To me, to have to jump into a social issue that we already know the outcome is going to be declared unconstitutional seems to be a big waste of time.”