South Carolina Men Who'll Never Become Pregnant Pass Six-Week Abortion Ban

Men didn’t listen to women in South Carolina Tuesday, which is hardly a rare occurrence but the consequences this time are especially dire. Twenty-seven South Carolina state senators, an all-male forced-birth revue, passed a six-week abortion ban over the objections of five women state senators, three of whom are Republicans.

Calling themselves the "Sister Senators," the five women had tried to block the bill through a filibuster. One of the women, Republican Penry Gustafson, had voted for a previous six-week ban that failed to pass in February. “Funny thing, when you learn and gather facts over time, sometimes your perspective evolves,” she told The Daily Beast. “I’ve heard from too many women that six weeks is not long enough.”

That’s great Sen. Gustafson, but I wish you’d consulted your constituents or conducted even the most basic research into reproductive health before Roe v. Wade was overturned. This was always the far-right endgame and they haven’t been subtle about it.


South Carolina Can't Have Its Nonsensical Anti-Abortion Law

South Carolina So 'Pro-Life' It's Gonna Murderize Everyone Who So Much As Thinks About Having An Abortion

The feedback Gustafson received from terrified women is absolutely true: Six weeks from the date of a person's last period is not enough time to safely have an abortion. Someone might not even know they're pregnant yet within that timeframe. The South Carolina bill also erects several barriers to abortion access: It requires two in-person visits with a doctor and two ultrasounds. South Carolina's uninsured rate is higher than the national average, but even if someone were able to afford those appointments, it's unlikely they could schedule them in time. The six-week ban effectively makes it impossible to receive an abortion in the state, which is the whole point.

It's been a race to Gilead in the southeast after the Dobbs decision. Georgia and Florida both have six-week abortion bans, which actually led to an increase in abortions in South Carolina. (Georgia and Florida can't stop women from leaving the state ... yet.) State Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey claimed that South Carolina had become “the abortion capital of the Southeast," which is arguably a better tourist draw than "Come For the Chiggers."

Republican leaders tried banning abortion outright, beginning at conception, three times in the past eight months. Meanwhile, South Carolina ranks 15th in the nation for underprivileged children who are already here. These anti-abortion bills aren't "pro-life," they're premeditated torment.

The Republican women — Sandy Senn, Katrina Shealy, and Gustafson — were threatened with primary challenges for their resistance, and anti-abortion activists showed up with empty strollers and exploited children, who called the women senators "baby killers." (Democratic Sen. Margie Bright Matthews and independent Mia McLeod also deserve a shout out.)

The New York Times reports:

Before the most recent debate started in April, the anti-abortion group Students for Life dropped off gift bags at the offices of the three Republican women containing plastic spines, infant size but intended to encourage the women to grow one, with notes signed, “the pre-born.”

The South Carolina Supreme Court had struck down a previous six-week ban in January, but that decision was three to two. Justice Kaye Gorenflo Hearn, who wrote the decision, was the only woman on the bench, and she's retired after meeting the court's mandatory retirement age. (She's a spry 73 so could run for Senate or the presidency as a Democrat.) Hearn wrote in the majority opinion that “few decisions in life are more private than the decision whether to terminate a pregnancy.”

Hearn noted somberly in a recent interview that she feels "like we're backing up, instead of moving forward." It's hard to disagree, considering a man replaced her on the bench, which makes South Carolina the only state in the nation without a woman on its highest court. If that's another tourist distinction, I prefer "Come For The Chiggers."

Republican leadership is eager to challenge the previous state Supreme Court decision in a uterus-free environment. Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, who's so "pro-life" he jokes about hunting down Democrats with dogs, will sign the gross bill without hesitation.

Tuesday, a furious Democratic Senate Minority Leader Brad Hutto said, "When you wake up, when your sisters wake up, when your daughters wake up, and you want to know who took away your rights, it was the Republicans."

Sen. Shealy made what felt like a legitimate Christian position in support of abortion rights: "We are not God. We need to let people make decisions for themselves.”

Unfortunately, Republicans have never truly believed in free will, especially when exercised by anyone who's not a white cis heterosexual male.

[The Daily Beast / Politico]

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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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