South Carolina Republican Decries Awful Abortion Ban He Helped Pass, You'll So Guess What Happened Next

South Carolina Republican Decries Awful Abortion Ban He Helped Pass, You'll So Guess What Happened Next

Abortion-rights activists have warned for years that rightwing abortion bans are hardly “pro-life” and would in fact needlessly endanger people’s lives. But most of those activists were women, so forced birthers rarely listened and passed their bans whenever they had a chance. Now that Samuel Alito’s fascist Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, there’s nothing stopping these bans from becoming law and proving those activists right.

Submitted for your approval today is the curious case of South Carolina Republican Rep. Neal Collins. The 40-year-old lawmaker from Easley voted for the state’s Fetal Heartbeat Protection From Abortion Act, which the Republican-controlled General Assembly passed and Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed into law last year. It was immediately blocked as unconstitutional, but shortly after Roe fell, a federal judge ruled that the law was now enforceable.

There was much rejoicing among the states’ forced birthers! Attorney General Alan Wilson declared, “Our state is now carrying out a government’s most sacred and fundamental duty, protecting life.” (Wilson fought the Biden administration’s federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates.) Riding his forced-birth high, McMaster wants a statewide abortion ban without the current law's rape or incest exceptions.

The law bans all abortions after a fetal “heartbeat” (more like an electrical impulse) is detected. That’s about six weeks into pregnancy. The resulting impact on actual human life was tragically predictable, and Collins was soon confronted with the horror of his own actions.

During a public hearing on McMaster’s even worse abortion ban, Collins ticked through a list of South Carolina's terrible statistics on maternal mortality, until he was told enough already, move along. Collins then revealed that a doctor in Anderson had contacted him regarding a 19-year-old pregnant woman who’d turned up at a local ER.

COLLINS: She was 15 weeks pregnant. Her water broke. The fetus was unviable.

Oh, it’s a fetus again and not an "unborn child.” Go on, sir.

COLLINS: The standard of care was to tell her that they could extract or she could go home. The attorneys told the doctors that because of the fetal heartbeat bill, because that 15-week-old had a heartbeat, the doctors could not extract [the fetus]. So their only choices were to admit the 19-year-old until that fetal heartbeat stopped. I asked how long does it take to stop.

Wait ... isn’t “how long does it take for a fetal heartbeat to stop” the sort of relevant question a legislator should've asked a medical professional before passing the goddamn bill? Maybe cover every possible scenario in a classroom setting before you let a very real 19-year-old kid bleed out. (Just so you know, I’m gonna be mad as fuck during this post.)

COLLINS: [The doctor] said "seconds, minutes, hours, maybe days” ... They discharged that 19-year-old. The doctor told me at that point ... she’s gonna pass this fetus in the toilet. She’s gonna have to deal with that on her own. There’s a greater than 50 percent chance that she’s gonna lose her uterus. There’s a 10 percent chance that she will develop sepsis and herself die. That weighs on me. I voted for that bill.

Because you’re a fool who didn’t listen to people who knew better until it was too late.

COLLINS: These [laws] are affecting people, and we’re having a meeting about this. That whole week I did not sleep. I followed up with the doctor a week later. She had heard nothing ... Thank God I followed up two weeks later. She did return to the ER and they extracted the now non-beating fetus.

Fuck you and fuck every forced-birth asshole who passed this abomination of a law that tortured and almost killed this young woman.

After decrying what he had helped to do in passing the first heartbeat law, and after almost weeping at the people who will be harmed or killed by what he had done, when faced with voting against an even worse law with no exceptions, out of “respect for the process,” Collins valiantly abstained. I’m sure future generations will build statues in his honor. The almost-total abortion ban moved forward to the House floor on a 13 to 7 vote. Fortunately, the state Supreme Court has granted a request from the state’s abortion providers to temporarily block the ban while their challenge to the law continues.

However, this doesn’t absolve South Carolina Republicans, who willingly endangered the lives of countless women and girls. If hearing about just one of them kept Collins up at night, then this coward deserves to never sleep again.

[People / The State]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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