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Republican lawmakers in South Carolina are attempting to change the state’s code of laws so that a person who gets an abortion is eligible for the death penalty.
House Bill 3549, also known as the South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act of 2023, would make getting an abortion equivalent to committing a homicide if passed, with the maximum penalty being the death penalty. The bill aims to amend the South Carolina code of laws by adding sections that would define a person to include an unborn child at any stage of development beginning at the point of conception.
The bill provides an exception for a pregnant person who underwent an abortion “because she was compelled to do so by the threat of imminent death or great bodily injury.” It also provides an exception if the procedure is needed to avert the death of a mother “when all reasonable alternatives to save the life of the unborn child were attempted or none were available.”
Abortion is currently legal in South Carolina up to 21 weeks and 6 days. In 2021, the South Carolina Supreme Court struck down an anti-abortion law banning the procedure at roughly six weeks of pregnancy, a time period that most women aren’t aware that they are even pregnant.
Near-Total Ban on Abortion Passes in GOP States
Last year in Oklahoma, Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law that makes performing an abortion illegal in the state, with an exception only in the case of a medical emergency.
Senate Bill 612, which was signed into law by Stitt in April 2022, makes performing an abortion or attempting to perform one a felony punishable by a maximum fine of $100,000 or a maximum of 10 years in state prison, or both. The law does not provide exceptions in cases of rape and incest.
“As governor, I represent all 4 million Oklahomans and they overwhelmingly support protecting life in the state of Oklahoma. We want Oklahoma to be the most pro-life state in the country. We want to outlaw abortion in the state of Oklahoma,” Stitt said.
Oklahoma currently ranks 34th in the country for maternal mortality, with Black infants twice as likely to die during their first year of life than a White infant.
The Black Wall Street Times reached out to South Carolina’s Rep. Rob Harris, who authored the bill, to question why measures such as social security benefits, additional welfare support, child support, etc. were all not included in the bill at the point of conception.