Health and Education, Policy Updates
March Legislative Update
by Megan Plassmeyer on Mar 2, 2018
As we move further into the 2017-18 legislative session, we’ve seen advocates, testifiers, and lawmakers that remind us what true strength and dedication reside in our community, specifically in women who face daily threats to healthcare access and bodily autonomy. Their voices, and yours, have meant so much in the ongoing battle to preserve and improve the health and economic outlook that women, girls, and families experience across our state.
Here are a few updates on legislation that your actions have helped progress or inhibit.
The South Carolina Pregnancy Accommodations Act H. 3865
This bill would guarantee that pregnant women and women recovering from childbirth are provided reasonable workplace accommodations. It would additionally add lactation as a protected category so that nursing mothers can express milk for their infants, and prohibit employers from penalizing employees who refuse accommodations. Overall, this would ensure that women in the workforce can successfully, and with good-health, remain in the workforce once pregnant.
During the first year of the 2017-2018 legislative session, the South Carolina Pregnancy Accommodations Act passed through the House and was introduced in the Senate. This year it’s passed through the Senate Judiciary subcommittee and full committee, and is now on it’s way to the Senate floor for a second reading and vote. Click here to call your Senator in support of this bill.
Here’s a video of your testimony that helped make this happen. Below is an image from our Meet Me at the Statehouse event on January 24th, 2018, where constituents asked lawmakers to prioritize the SC Pregnancy Accommodations Act. Just one week later it appeared on an agenda and passed through subcommittee.
This bill would grant full legal rights to a fertilized egg. By defining “personhood” from the moment of fertilization, before pregnancy has occurred, this bill would threaten access to effective contraceptive methods and restrict the use of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and other fertility treatment. It would additionally subject a woman who suffers pregnancy-related complications or miscarriage to extensive criminal investigation and jail time or potential charges of reckless endangerment or homicide, and ban abortion.
During the first year of the 2017-2018 legislative session, so-called personhood legislation was introduced in the Senate and passed through the Senate Judiciary subcommittee. This year it’s also passed through the Senate Judiciary full committee and is now on it’s way to the Senate floor for a second reading and vote. Click here to call your Senator in opposition of this bill.
Here’s a video of your testimony that helped impede this bill. Below is an image from this week’s Meet Me at the Statehouse on February 28th, 2018, where constituents asked their Senators to stand in opposition of this dangerous legislation.
This bill would ban a method of abortion. The method this bill seeks to outlaw is the most common surgical technique for second-trimester abortions and can be safely performed in an office, clinic, or operating room. The risk of major complications is less than 1%. Alternative procedures could increase the risk of complications for a woman and can make the procedure longer and potentially more painful.
During the first year of the 2017-2018 legislative session, the safe method ban bill passed through the House and was introduced in the Senate. This year, it’s passed through the Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee and full committee, and is now on it’s way to the Senate floor for a second reading and vote. Click here to call your Senator in opposition of this bill.
Here’s a video of testimony that reminded lawmakers that this legislation is dangerous for the women of South Carolina. There is still time to halt the progress of this bill. If you’ve already made calls to your Senator, consider sharing the link on social media so that we may activate our community in opposition.
H. 4491 Reducing Women’s Health Providers
This bill would prohibit the SC Department of Health and Human Services from contracting with entities that perform or “promote” abortions with exceptions. It is clear that the intention of the bill is to further undermine limited access to abortion care in our state. However, it is important to state that public funding is already prohibited from going to abortion care, except in extremely limited cases.
This bill would cut off access to all public funding for any service to facilities or providers that perform abortions or that are affiliated with individuals or institutions that provide abortion care. Many hospitals, clinics and health centers throughout our state provide abortion care as one of multiple services, and they do not receive public funding for any care related to abortions. If this bill passes, these providers would lose funding to conduct well visits, do cancer screenings, conduct prenatal care, and provide vaccinations to children. This would be disastrous for the women, men, and children who access care at these facilities, many of who would not have another option for care. And it would be disastrous for everyone in our state, because a weakened public health system affects each and every one of us.
H.4491 was introduced in January of 2018 and went to the House Constitutional Laws subcommittee. Although a testimony and a debate have yet to happen, lawmakers addressed their concerns with this bill prior to meeting adjournment. Click here to watch the live stream of this debate.
Here’s a reminder of the steps that must occur in both the SC House and Senate prior to a bill landing on the Governor’s desk.