Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

Now that the General Assembly met and came up with different versions of yet another

abortion ban that’s not substantively different from the one currently being challenged now in court, state lawmakers need to give us all a break. Let’s hope the S.C. House, now set to meet again on abortion on Sept. 27, will slow things down and wait for a court to decide if a current six-week “fetal heartbeat” ban is constitutional.

Unfortunately, we’re not too optimistic about that because anti-abortion zealots, well, have way too much zeal.

At this point, it’s pretty clear there aren’t enough legislative votes to push through a total abortion ban without exceptions. They didn’t do it in the House two weeks ago. And last week, those who wanted to take more freedom from South Carolina’s women couldn’t get past a handful of moderate Republicans who said no to a bill without exceptions.

So give it a rest, guys. And we say “guys” because almost all of the emotional peacocks pushing for even tougher abortion legislation are white Republican men who can’t give birth and who can’t imagine the agony and conflict too many pregnant women go through. 

Through the years, South Carolina’s legislators increasingly pushed the envelope on abortion, which was constitutionally protected in 1973 by Roe v. Wade. In times when the state House and Senate were less tribal and had more moderates, leaders would throw a bone to the zealots and let them argue about abortion during slow legislative weeks. 

Seems like they manufactured something new every year. They talked about Judeo-Christian ethics. They talked about the unborn and whether they had rights. Even as extremists periodically killed and bombed, they ratcheted up political rhetoric, moving from the notion of requiring informed consent before an abortion to requiring pregnant women to have a sonogram and hear a fetal heartbeat before making a choice on whether to have a baby. In recent years, the zealots started talking about how an unborn fetus was a person and had rights. Then they started proposing bans of one form or another.

In 2021 after the U.S. Supreme Court boosted its conservative majority, it became clear the Court would take up a challenge to Roe v. Wade. In states like South Carolina, Republican men salivated for a way to appease their base and passed a six-week ban that would trigger into law if Roe were overturned. That happened this summer. And in pretty short order, a state judge issued an injunction to hold off on implementing this “fetal heartbeat” law until South Carolina judges decide on the ban’s constitutionality based on the state constitution.

But too many Republicans in the General Assembly want more, even though a new ban likely would face a similar court injunction pending the decision on whether South Carolina’s constitutional right to privacy trumps any ban.

People are tired of the constant hubbub on abortion. Let’s work on some other issues for a while now. Reducing poverty? Improving health care? Fixing crappy roads?

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