This is not a drill: Two abortion restrictions will be heard on Wednesday!
by WREN Staff on Jan 20, 2022
(Instructions for testifiers are at the end of this blog.)
On January 26th, the SC Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee will hear two bills (S.907 and S.988) that, if passed, will be catastrophic for more than a million South Carolinians planning our families and our futures.
WREN is rapidly responding to these threats but we need all hands on deck to speak out and donate toward our $25,000 goal that allows us to:
- Organize testifiers and equip them with PPE, travel stipends, and training so they’re comfortable sharing their stories.
- Provide the only public access to the subcommittee proceedings by live-streaming from the meeting room.
- Educate more South Carolinians through door-to-door canvassing, social media campaigns, and documentary screenings about how critical it is to lend their voices to this fight.
These are the bills being heard:
This is a Medication Abortion Misinformation bill. This bill would force providers to disclose medically inaccurate information about medication abortion. It would require doctors to tell abortion patients who receive a medication abortion that they can reverse the medication they’ve taken.
There is no scientific evidence that this works. In fact, a medical study on this proved to be so dangerous for those participating in the study that it had to be stopped. This bill would require doctors and other health care professionals to provide patients with dangerous, unproven, unscientific medical misinformation.
Medication abortion is performed with two medications, mifepristone, and misoprostol. The first medicine (mifepristone) is provided by a doctor at a health center or abortion clinic. The second medication is given to the patient to take at home. Medication abortion is extremely safe. Half of all abortions in SC today are performed through medication.
This bill is incredibly dangerous. S.988 uses language referring to a fertilized egg as a person, meaning that a fertilized egg has all the same rights and protections as a living, breathing human. This is Personhood language which has far-reaching implications beyond just abortion access such as:
- Making abortion illegal. Under this bill, abortion, and anyone who has one performs one or assists in one, could be charged under the criminal code, with charges including feticide, manslaughter, homicide, and more.
- Making IUDs, other contraceptive methods, and Plan B illegal because they could prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.
- Making it impossible to get IVF in South Carolina because of the multiple fertilized eggs needed to produce a pregnancy. Donors and medical professionals who dispose of unused fertilized eggs could be charged with homicide.
- Criminalizing miscarriage and stillbirth and forcing those who experience them to undergo police questioning and possible criminal charges/imprisonment. (this has already happened in many states across the U.S.)
- Criminalizing any act a pregnant person takes that someone could consider as risky towards their pregnancy (ex. smoking, drinking, eating sushi, missing a doctor’s appointment). (This has already happened in S.C. in the case of Whitner v. State)
- Forcing pregnant people to undergo medical treatment they do not want. For example, a pregnant person could be tied down and forced to undergo a cesarean section if a doctor felt that was in the best interest of the fetus and they did not want one.
- Eliminating doctor/patient confidentiality and allowing doctors to report pregnant people to the police.
- And more.
Additionally, the only exception S.988 includes is to prevent the death of the pregnant person, with no exceptions to preserve their health. A pregnant person has to be at the brink of death in order to access an abortion. This could have lasting implications on their mental and physical health.
S.988 is a trigger ban, meaning it will only go into effect if Roe V. Wade is overturned or significantly modified. This may seem like a distant threat, but the Mississippi abortion case that the Supreme Court heard in December 2021 could make it a very real possibility. If Roe falls, and S.988 is passed, then abortion would be illegal in South Carolina.
The hearing will happen in room 209, which has a capacity of 40. They have reserved an overflow room, room 207, for those that do not fit in room 209, this room also has a capacity of 40, there will be no standing in the hallways or anywhere else in the building, if both rooms are full, you will not be allowed inside the building.
There will be security present and they will only be allowing inside the building the 98 people who signed up to testify. If you are not on the list of 98, you will not be allowed inside the building at all.
Senators on the subcommittee are selecting who on the list of 98 they will allow to testify; only those that they select and a few other Senator designees will be allowed in room 209. The rest of the 98 will be put in 207 (until it reaches capacity).
If you have been selected to testify, Senate staff is working to email you and notify you that you have been selected. However, THEY MAY NOT GET ALL THE EMAILS OUT TODAY, meaning those selected to testify may not be notified prior to the hearing.
This is what we recommend:
- If you get an email that you are testifying, come at 8:30. You will be testifying and sitting in room 209.
- If you do not get an email, but you are on the list of 98, come at 8:30 if you are able to. But, you can always watch the hearing via our livestream instead: https://www.facebook.com/events/697256461437664
- If you are not on the list of 98, you can still watch the hearing via our livestream at: https://www.facebook.com/events/697256461437664
TLDR: We understand this uncertainty regarding your testifier status is frustrating and confusing, if you aren’t sure if you have been selected, then you can watch the live stream.
All testimony will be in-person, we encourage you to take all necessary precautions when going to the hearing. Masks are not required at the Statehouse, so please bring the best mask you have. We are working to have PPE available, but in case we run out, please bring your own. Your testimony can be up to 3 minutes long.
The hearing will be held in room 209 of the Gressettte Building on the SC Statehouse Grounds, see the map below.