A state Senate panel voted Tuesday to delay a bill that could possibly ban all abortions in South Carolina.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 19-4 to postpone action on legislation known as the “Personhood” bill. The measure would define life as beginning at fertilization and give legal status to that life the same as any other South Carolina citizen. However, opponents — and even some of the bill’s supporters — say the current version is too restrictive.
State Sen. Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington, said comittee members need more time to consider possible exceptions. She and others noted the proposal considered Tuesday would ban all abortions — including those where the mother’s life is considered at-risk. “I’ve been a sponsor of this bill every year, but I think there are some problems with this I think we need to look at seriously,” Shealy said during Tuesday’s meeting.
State Sen. Sandy Senn, R-Charleston said the bill in its present form is not constitutional. “I am a Republican, pro-life and Catholic. I do not want to vote against a bill that encourages pro-life,” she said. “But this bill is so far out of bounds as far as its constitutionality I don’t think it can be retrieved.”
The proposed legislation has 20 GOP sponsors. Its main supporter, State Sen. Richard Cash, R-Anderson, said those senators who want amendments only want to delay the bill rather than make it better.
“Whatever amendments we can work into this bill, there will always be another one,” Cash said.
The bill states life begins at conception and at that an embryo has all the rights as any other citizen. By carrying it over Tuesday, committee members could take up the proposal again at their meeting next week.