South Carolina’s GOP law could criminalize abortion with the death penalty

In South Carolina, Republican lawmakers are considering an amendment to the state’s penal code that would punish a person who performs an abortion with the death penalty.

The bill, called the South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act of 2023, would amend the state statute, redefining “person” to include a fertilized egg at the time of conception and giving that zygote “equal protection under the state’s homicide laws.” ’ – up to and including the death penalty.

Representative Rob Harris wrote the bill and so far it has attracted 21 co-sponsors.

However, the bill provides an exception for pregnant women who undergo an abortion “because they were compelled to do so by threats of imminent death or serious bodily harm.”

It also provides an exception where the procedure is necessary to avert the death of a mother “when all reasonable alternatives to save the life of the unborn child have been tried or none were available”.

Abortion is currently legal in South Carolina for up to 21 weeks and 6 days; A 2021 ban prohibiting abortion after six weeks was overturned by the state Supreme Court in January.

additionally proposed bill makes no exception for rape or incest. South Carolina MP Nancy Mace said in Parliament last week: “To see this debate go into the dark places, into the dark fringes where it ran on both sides of the aisle, has deeply disturbed me as a woman. as a woman legislator, as a mother and as a victim of rape”.

She continued: “I was raped as a teenager at the age of 16. This debate should be a cross-party debate where we balance women’s rights and the right to life. But we’re not having that conversation here in DC. We’re not having this conversation at home. We do not have this conversation with other state legislators.” South Carolina’s GOP law could criminalize abortion with the death penalty

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