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South Carolina governor signs 20-week abortion ban

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Protesters called for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to veto a bill that would outlaw most abortions in the state past 19 weeks, today, in Columbia, S.C. The only exceptions would be to save the life of the mother or if the fetus cannot survive outside the womb.

COLUMBIA, S.C. » Republican Gov. Nikki Haley signed legislation today that immediately outlaws most abortions in South Carolina at 20 weeks beyond fertilization.

The only exceptions are if the mother’s life is in jeopardy or a doctor determines the fetus can’t survive outside the womb.

Doctors face up to $10,000 in fines and 3 years in prison for each violation; prison time is mandatory on a third conviction.

These bans are now in effect in at least 13 states and blocked by court challenges in three others. South Dakota’s ban takes effect July 1.

Women nationwide have the right to obtain abortions under the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which said states could restrict abortions after viability — the point when a fetus has a reasonable chance of surviving outside the uterus. “Viability is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks,” the ruling said.

The Supreme Court has yet to rule on bans that would limit even earlier abortions.

As in other states, South Carolina’s law ties the fetus’ age to conception, rather than a women’s monthly cycle. But since this date cannot be scientifically pinpointed, the ban actually refers to what doctors consider a gestational age of 22 weeks.

Supporters of the bill cite the disputed claim that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks. Opponents say later-term abortions usually happen with wanted pregnancies that go horribly wrong.

“The reality is that abortion later in pregnancy is extremely rare and often takes place in complex and difficult situations where a woman and her doctor need every medical option available,” said Alyssa Miller, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman for South Carolina.

South Carolina’s definition of “fetal anomaly” makes it illegal to abort a fetus with a severe disability if the child could live. Such anomalies are generally detected around 20 weeks.

Advocates for abortion rights contend these measures are aimed at restricting women’s access to a safe, legal abortion.

The sponsor of South Carolina’s law, state Rep. Wendy Nanney, said the killing needs to stop, and sees this law as a step to eventually “get rid of abortion altogether.”

Haley’s signature comes only days after Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed legislation to outlaw the procedure at any stage, by making it a felony for doctors to perform an abortion. Fallin, a Republican who opposes abortion, said the measure would not withstand a legal challenge.

Abortion-rights supporters rallied Tuesday at the Statehouse to ask Haley to veto the measure. But Haley’s signature was no surprise.

“I’m strongly pro-life, very pro-life and not because my party tells me to be, but my husband was adopted, and so every day I know the blessings of having him there,” Haley said during her 2010 campaign for governor.

As a House member that year, Haley voted to end abortion coverage for victims of rape and incest in the state health plan for employees. The Senate defeated that proposal.

In 2012, Haley signed a bill intended to ensure that a fetus surviving an abortion attempt is not treated as medical waste. It defined a person as anyone who is breathing and has a beating heart after birth, whether by labor, cesarean section, or abortion, copying a 2002 federal law enforceable on federal property.

The ban would affect only hospitals, since none of the three abortion clinics in South Carolina provide abortions beyond 15 weeks.

On average, fewer than 30 abortions yearly are performed at 20 weeks gestation or beyond in South Carolina, according to data since 1990 from the state’s public health agency. Most of these women have been white, married and older than 24, according to the agency.

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    • Oh, yeah. Those, those ignorant rednecks!!!! They’ve done it now–passing abortion controls even less restrictive (?) than France, Germany, and a number of other western european countries, all of which limit abortion on demand to around 12 weeks. Sure, they allow exceptions, but, in general, the exceptions are proscribed by law (as does the SC law).

      Babies have survived birth at the 20-21 week range. The law is undeniably right/moral, unless killing a baby that could have lived is no big deal.

        • Ok. Looked at the facts. My point remains: Europe has more stringent bans than that in the SC law, usually around 12 weeks, with exceptions made for health of the mother/certain death of the infant, as does the SC law. Beyond that, some have exceptions for economic circumstances, but not France, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_France, which requires TWO doctors to approve abortion based on mother/infant health.

          So, by your logic, France is even more steeped in ignorance than SC.

          In Europe, waiting periods for abortion are common. I suppose that would be ignorant/barbaric if/when done here.

          All this blather really misses the point: Abortion of a viable child (20 weeks is just barely feasible with modern medical technology–it has happened) is barbarism, at the minimum, manslaughter ESPECIALLY if its done for economic reasons ESPECIALLY when the kid can be given up for adoption.

          There just isn’t any moral argument to the contrary. The SC law is fine. What isn’t fine is the moral depravity that would just look the other way when an innocent is killed.

        • You have a MD, or perhaps a jurist, or maybe even a Ph.D. level ethicist? If not, you are making middling pedestrian commentary on items that our Supreme Court has already upon, e.g. that is to say, your are just making fanciful musings…..

  • Fewer children grew up living in poverty, fewer children grew up in single parent households, fewer children grew up in households headed by welfare recipients. In some sense, you can think about following that cohort’s path through life into things like educational attainment, labor market outcomes. You observe increases in college graduation, lower rates of welfare use for the children themselves, reduced likelihood of becoming a single parent themselves. These are outcomes for the children who were born in the early 70s that we observe 20 years later, that we observe for the cohort as a whole. These are facts, not platitudes or political commentary.

    • Unfortunately your stats are not based on reality boo, especially during the last 7 lost years, known as the Obama Administration. During this period, we have seen the ranks of people on food stamps soar, and the percentage of Americans living in poverty has risen. Median Family Income has lowered during his tenure, and there is a feeling that the economy has started to slow. Margaret Sanger, abortion advocate was a proponent of eugenics and is quoted as saying, “The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.” She is the hero to people who advocate unfettered abortion, like HilLIARy and you perhaps?

      • Ben Caron makes a mockery of both Boola U and surgery. His performance outside of the hospital, was pure amateurish and give reason to second guess his mothers decision….

  • It is bewildering how liberals strongly oppose the death penalty for murderers while strongly supporting the slaughter of unborn humans.

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