Measures to restrict or change abortion practices in South Carolina continue to come up in the Statehouse even during budget debate. The House version of the budget kept the state health plan from covering all abortions. The Senate said no to that.
Senator Joel Lourie of Richland says there are about 422,000 state employees on the health plan and there were six abortions performed, all under the exceptions of rape, incest, or to save the mother’s life.
So somewhere in our state there were six women who were either victims of rape, incest or whose lives were at stake who had an abortion and the state health plan paid for that. So it really is not a case of whether our tax dollars are being used. These are insurance premiums that each and every one of us, state employees throughout the state, paid for.
Lourie posed a different argument:
I cannot imagine what a family would have to go through if a sister or daughter or wife was the victim of rape or of incest. So to me, this debate really should not be about abortion, it should be about protecting the rights of victims here, strictly about protecting the rights of victims.
Lourie says that making a woman carry the child from a rape only empowers the criminal.
Senator Mike Fair introduced some restrictions to coverage in the case of rape or incest. He wanted to allow coverage– but only if the attack is reported to law enforcement, within a certain amount of time.
And what that does, from my perspective, it takes out of the realm of possibility, most likely, a woman–and let’s just be ridiculous here–who decides in her eighth month of pregnancy to come up with an idea that ‘I have been raped.’
But his measure, according to Senator Brad Hutto, jeopardized $2.1 million funding in the Violence Against Women Act. Fair agreed to take it out, he says, because he could not reach legal agreement on that. Fair did get language added to stop state health plan coverage of abortion-related services. These are related costs for what anti-abortion lawmakers call “abortion on demand.” Fair says, “Any of the ancillary costs associated with that, materials and that sort of thing, cannot be paid for.”
The amendment was passed on a voice vote and will go to conference committee with other budget items.