Nearly two dozen South Carolina lawmakers have expressed support for a bill that would allow individuals who undergo an abortion to receive the death penalty.
The South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act of 2023 was first introduced in December 2022. According to the proposal, an individual is considered to be an unborn child “at every stage of development from fertilization until birth.” With this bill, lawmakers claim to have a vested interest in ensuring “that an unborn child who is a victim of homicide is afforded equal protection under the homicide laws of the state.” Currently, homicide in South Carolina carries a minimum of 30 years in prison and a maximum of the death penalty.
The South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act of 2023 has reportedly garnered the support of 21 lawmakers since it was profiled in December 2022, including Robert J. Harris, James Mikell Burns and William M. Chumley. However, all Republicans are not on board with the act. U.S. Representative Nancy Mace has called the bill “deeply disturbing.”
“To see this debate go to the dark places, the dark edges, where it has gone on both sides of the aisle has been deeply disturbing to me as a women, as a female legislator, as a mom, and as a victim of rape,” Mace said.
“This debate ought to be a bipartisan debate where we balance the rights of women and we balance the right to life.”
The bill currently sits with the state’s Judiciary Committee, which has not ruled on the matter yet.