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Updated 1/19

In the middle of a global pandemic, when COVID-19 cases in South Carolina are out of control, anti-abortion state lawmakers have made banning abortion their top priority. State senators have introduced and scheduled Senate Bill 1 for a hearing in the Senate Medical Affairs Committee on Thursday, January 21, making it one of the first bills to be introduced and heard this legislative session. Not only is this bill incredibly out-of-touch with the priorities of South Carolinians, it is dangerous and blatantly unconstitutional. 

So, what is S. 1, anyway? 

Named the "South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act," S. 1 would prevent people from getting abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — only about two weeks after a missed period. This is before many people even know that they are pregnant. With a ban so early in pregnancy, some people may find that it’s too late for them to get an abortion – which is exactly the goal of the politicians trying to pass this bill.  

We have seen this dangerous legislation all across the country – in Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and even in South Carolina – in the last few years. Many politicians have said that the specific purpose of pushing these bills is to force the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade and possibly overturn it. No matter the reason legislators give for introducing this bill, we know that there are far more pressing issues facing South Carolinians right now than passing an extreme ban on safe, legal abortion. 

Why are they pushing this now? 

That’s a great question, especially considering we are in the midst of a global pandemic with thousands of South Carolinians unemployed, without health insurance, and more than 5,000 deaths from COVID-19. It’s unacceptable and frankly irresponsible that the very first bill to be heard in South Carolina will aim to restrict basic, essential health care given all of the hardships that thousands of South Carolinians are currently facing. The state is wasting taxpayers’ time and money by continuing to focus on slashing access to reproductive health care.  

Instead, legislators should be focused on increasing access to health care, getting a vaccine to the thousands who need it, and providing relief for the thousands more who are currently unemployed and can’t pay their bills. 

What can we do to make our voices heard? 

On Thursday, January 20, the Senate Medical Affairs Committee will be hearing the bill and voting on whether to pass it to the Senate Floor. There are a few ways you can speak out against this bill: 

  • Call members of the Subcommittee. There are four members of the subcommittee that especially need to hear from you: 

    • Senator Tom Davis (SD 46, Beaufort and Jasper Counties): (803) 212-6056 

    • Senator Sandy Senn (SD 41, Charleston and Dorchester Counties): (803) 212-6116

    • Senator Thomas Alexander (Senate District 1, Occonee and Pickens Counties): (803) 212-6220

    • Senator Dwight Loftis (Senate District 6, Greenville County): (803) 212-6100
      • What you can say: 
        Hi, my name is ________ and I am calling in opposition of Senate Bill 1. It’s unacceptable and frankly irresponsible that the very first bill to be heard in South Carolina will aim to restrict basic, essential health care given all of the hardships that thousands of South Carolinians are currently facing. The state is wasting taxpayers’ time and money by continuing to focus on slashing access to reproductive health care. I urge you to vote no on S. 1 and focus on bills that will protect the health and wellbeing of all South Carolinians. 

  • Get loud on social media. Here are some things you can say: 

    • Instead of focusing on things that really matter to us, legislators want to pass an extreme abortion ban. We’re not gonna let this slide. #scpol #StopTheBans 

    • We’re in the middle of a global pandemic, when thousands of South Carolinians have died and thousands more are without jobs or health care, and legislators want to first ban abortion? No way. #scpol #StopTheBans 

    • Our legislators work for us, and we need them to focus on the issues that matter to us -- like combatting COVID-19, NOT an extreme abortion ban. #scpol #StopTheBans 

When’s the bill going to be heard? 

Here’s the timeline for S. 1*: 

  • The Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee will hear public testimony and consider passing S. 1 to the full Senate Medical Affairs Committee. (Happened on 1/14/21)

  • (We are here) If passed, the bill will then go to the full Senate Medical Affairs Committee for further public testimony and consideration. 

  • If passed, the bill will then go to the full Senate for consideration. 

  • If passed, the bill will be sent to the House. 

*This is not an exhaustive list and is subject to change at any time. To stay up-to-date on where the bill is, be sure to check out our legislative updates page and follow us on social media: 

Tags: Abortion, South Carolina, sc

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