Abortion Ban (Trigger Ban with Personhood Language) S.988 and S.1127
These bills use 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. They are both trigger bans, meaning they will only go into effect if Roe V. Wade is overturned or significantly modified.
S.988 was introduced in early January 2022. After being stalled in the committee process for months, anti-choice legislators introduced a copy version of the bill, S.1127, to try to bypass the committee process. Both bills have the same effect.
WREN opposes S.988 and S.1127 because they would outlaw abortion in our state, impact people’s ability to access in vitro fertilization and contraception, and criminalize pregnancy outcomes like miscarriage. Any person of reproductive age could have their life and liberty policed by the state. The people who will suffer the most will be people who already lack access to health care, including young people, people of color, people with disabilities, survivors of violence, people with low incomes, and people living in rural areas. South Carolinians deserve to have their health, safety, and rights respected, and this must include the right to abortion.
WREN is committed to ensuring comprehensive access to health coverage and equitable care, including abortion services, birth control, healthcare for pregnant people, and gender-affirming care. Everyone, no matter their immigration status, deserves access to health care, when and where they need it, without financial difficulty, discrimination, barriers, or stigma.
We respect the right of individuals to make the decisions about pregnancy and parenting that are best for them and support them in those decisions.
These bills are incredibly dangerous. They use 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 these bills include 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 and S.1127 are trigger bans, meaning they 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 either of these bills are passed, then abortion would be illegal in South Carolina.
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