People discuss constitutionality of “fetal heartbeat” bill at Senate Subcommittee meeting

Some women argued that it hurts their reproductive rights, others say it hurts unborn babies

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) —A bill which would virtually ban all abortions once a fetus develops at heartbeat has several people fired up.

Several made their voices heard at two Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee meetings throughout the day.

The three main areas of debate today were the constitutionality of the bill, how the bill affects the relationship between physicians and women, and if banning abortion would save more lives.

As Senators listened on, many people went back and forth to see whom House Bill 3020 would affect the most.

“Regardless of age, size, or dependent status, a child with a heartbeat should be treated with dignity. These unborn men and unborn women have human rights too,” said Rep. Josiah Magnuson (R-Spartanburg). 

Others say the bill would force at-risk pregnancies to be carried to term, causing health risks for the mother.

“By criminalizing those who would abort in cases of detrimental fetal health complications, you are not protecting life, you are contributing to great suffering. Supporting H3020 creates a prison for those forced to carry at-risk pregnancies to term,” said Chrissy Taylor, one of the speakers against the bill.

Some argue abortion violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, which prevents cruel and unusual punishment and also allows for due process for all citizens, which some say would include unborn children, under the law.

“These precious babies should have the opportunity to grow up, to fulfill God’s destiny for their lives,” said Pastor Tony Foster of Greenwood.

However, some say banning abortions would impact medical advice women receive, and impact maternal mortality rates, in which South Carolina ranks 42nd in the nation, according to one gynecologist. 

“Requiring a woman to continue pregnancy puts her at a much greater risk than does a safe abortion procedure. The need for abortion will not go away if this bill is passed, and passage is more likely to increase the risk unsafe abortion which could increase the maternal mortality ratio,” said Dr. Judy Burgis, an OBGYN based in Columbia. 

Senator Shane Martin, the head of the subcommittee, said the bill would not be voted on Tuesday. If passed, South Carolina would be the tenth state to sign a similar bill into law. Most of those states have had those laws temporarily struck down by federal courts.

Alabama and Georgia were among those that recently had their bills signed by their respective governors. 

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