Reported by Randy DeSoto May 25, 2016
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed into law Wednesday a ban on abortions after 19 weeks, joining 16 other states with similar legislation. Medical personnel who perform abortions at 20 weeks and beyond face up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The law makes exceptions to save the life of the mother, or if the unborn child has severe abnormalities that would prevent viability outside of the womb.
Alyssa Miller, South Carolina director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, said in a statement, “This is a dangerous bill for South Carolina women, … made even more extreme by removing exceptions for victims of rape and incest.”
“These bans are now in effect in 13 states and blocked by court challenges in three others. South Dakota’s ban takes effect July 1,” Politico reported.
Supreme Court legal precedent permits states to place restrictions on abortions once the unborn child is deemed viable, but the High Court has not ruled specifically when that moment in the pregnancy is.
In Roe v. Wade (1973), the justices in the majority pointed to the third trimester (after 24 weeks) as the key time frame in the unborn child’s development, when the state’s interest in protecting “potential life” becomes compelling.
Pro-life advocates and many scientists believe life begins at the moment of conception, and modern medicine continues to push back the time in the pregnancy when a child can survive outside of the womb.
Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser called the legislation the “latest victory amid a flurry of state-level pro-life activity being led by women lawmakers.” Dannenfelser also lobbied Congress to enact a similar measure, Raw Story reported.
“A national limit — which would save up to 18,000 lives a year and protect many women — is long overdue,” she said. “The U.S. is only one in seven nations to allow late-term abortion after the five-month mark. If we take back the White House and protect our pro-life majorities in Congress, we can pass this legislation in 2017.”