It’s been a tense week for many pro-choice advocates in South Carolina. Legislators in the notoriously conservative state came extremely close to passing an unconstitutional abortion bill that would ban all abortions, except in the cases of rape, incest, or serious medical emergencies — which in practice would outlaw approximately 97% of the abortions performed in the state each year.
Governor Henry McMaster claimed he would sign the bill if it passed, regardless of the fact that it is in clear opposition to the tenets of Row v. Wade, which guarantees a woman the right to choose anytime before the “point of viability” (around 24 weeks).
However, there’s a light at the end of this story. A group of hero Democrats in the South Carolina senate blocked the bill by filibustering for three full days. Many canceled weekend plans and even vacations in case the filibuster needed to go through the weekend. And on Friday, May 4th, at 1 a.m. local time (yes, a.m.!), the Republicans gave up.
This is an even bigger victory when we consider the fact that the Democrats hold a minority in the South Carolina senate. According to TheState.com, Republicans were hoping to outlast the Democrats, keeping the senate in session for so long that some would leave, giving supporters of the bill the three-fifths majority they needed to win. But that didn’t happen.
Another senator, Gerald Malloy, had plans to attend the Kentucky Derby this weekend, but said his wife and children encouraged him to stay and fight. “It was more important to her and the women in this state that I stay,” he said.
While it’s unclear if the unconstitutional bill would have ever been put into effect even if signed, this is a huge symbolic victory for choice and for women’s reproductive rights, and we applaud each and every member of the South Carolina senate who stood up for women today. Thank you for your service — it hasn’t gone unnoticed.