WREN Statement in Opposition to H.3020
by Ann Warner on Apr 2, 2019
Today I ask Constitutional Laws Subcommittee members to vote in opposition to H.3020, which would ban abortion as early as 6 weeks, regardless of a woman’s needs or circumstances.
The women of our state have the intellectual and moral capabilities to make the right decisions about pregnancy and parenting. Government interference in these deeply personal decisions is unnecessary and it is harmful.
Women and families in South Carolina already face significant barriers in accessing health care. South Carolina was recently ranked 48th in healthcare for pregnant mothers and newborns. That measure included infant mortality, in which the state ranked 38th in the nation.i South Carolina’s maternal mortality rates are eighth highest in the nation, and black mothers are more than four times more likely to die during pregnancy or in childbirth than white mothers.ii We cannot afford to place additional restrictions on healthcare services. Additional restrictions will seriously compromise the provision of healthcare during pregnancy, increasing the likelihood of negative health outcomes for women and their babies.
The World Health Organization has concluded that restricting access to abortions does not reduce the number of abortions.iii Instead, restrictions will severely complicate women’s access to healthcare during their reproductive years. Any woman of reproductive age would be affected by this law, but the worst effects would be on people who have less access to health care, including young women, women of color, women with disabilities, women with low incomes, and women living in rural areas.
Reducing abortion access also has economic consequences, a burden that the women of our state should not be forced to bear. According to peer-reviewed studies, over a five year period, women refused an abortion are more likely to report not having enough money to cover basic living expenses such as housing, transportation and food. This ultimately leads to four times greater odds of living below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).iv
In addition, women denied abortion are:
* More likely to experience serious complications from the end of pregnancy including eclampsia and death,
* More likely to stay tethered to abusive partners,
* More likely to suffer anxiety and loss of self-esteem in the short term after being denied abortion, and
* Less likely to have aspirational life plans for the coming year.
The consequences of this legislation would be insidious and far-reaching. Banning abortion at 6 weeks inserts the government into people’s private lives and would rob women of the freedom to make a most personal decision: whether, when, and how to become a parent.
As a community leader, advocate, and mother, I strongly urge you to vote in opposition of H.3020, and support the health and economic well-being of women and families across our state. Thank you for your time. I would be happy to answer any questions.
iii World Health Organization, News Release, Worldwide, An Estimated 25 Million Unsafe Abortions Occur Each Year (Sept. 28, 2017), http://www.who.int/news-room/detail/28-09-2017-worldwide-an-estimated-25-million-unsafe-abortions-occur-each-year
iv Retrieved from https://www.ansirh.org/research/turnaway-study