On January 22, 1973 in a 7-2 vote, the United States Supreme ruled that state regulation of abortion is unconstitutional. Since that date, it is estimated that 64 Million abortions have been performed in the United States of America. In the conservative, Bible Belt state of South Carolina, historical data would suggest there are about 5,000+ abortions performed each and every year.
In February of 2021, under the leadership of Governor Henry McMaster, the South Carolina State Legislature voted into law the “South Carolina fetal heartbeat and protection from abortion act” This law, with a few exceptions, (specifically rape and incest if the fetus is less then 20 weeks along), essentially banned the abortion of human life after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Not surprisingly this law was blocked almost immediately thru the Judicial branch.
In a miraculous and surprising answer to prayer by untold thousands of American’s of all faiths, the US Supreme court on June 24, 2002 overturned Roe v. Wade. This landmark decision led by originalist justices appointed by President Trump effectively moved the legality of abortion to the individual states.
In the immediate aftermath of the ruling a total of eleven states, including Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, South Dakota and Idaho, effectively banned abortion in their state. Since South Carolina is often cited as one of the most conservative and christian states in the United States, and currently led a so-called super majority of conservatives in the State House of Representative (88-36), a majority in the Senate (30-16) and the second term Conservative Governor Henry McMaster, one would presume that the State Legislature would take immediate and appropriate action to stop the murder of innocent life.
Indeed, with high hopes and expectations, the South Carolina State Legislature adjured a special session during mid-summer 2022, at the State House in Columbia to become the 12th State to ban abortion. Unfortunately, the conservative state legislature quickly turned to political posturing over principal, and commenced a seven month long circus that only entrenched politicians could dream of or implement.
The House of Representatives introduced bill H.5399 which proposed such a ban. This bill originally failed to receive the requisite votes to proceed was ultimately passed and sent over the the Senate. Once received, the Senate rejected it and crafted their own abortion bill and sent it back to the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives by a vote of 95-11 rejected this bill thereby sending it to a joint committee with three representatives form both chambers of congress.
Over a period of seven months (June to November 2022), at an estimated cost of $175,00 of taxpayers money, (overtime pay and per-diem expenses for elected officials) the South Carolina legislature through multiple called meetings, sessions and committees inexcusably failed to craft, present and vote approval on any legislation banning abortion.
To the surprise of few, on January 5th, 2023, the South Carolina Supreme Court, taking full advantage of the inept and dysfunctional state legislature overturned the Fetal Heartbeat Bill (enacted in 2021 by the Governor, but suspended in the courts), ruling that it violated the constitutional right to privacy. Fortunately, thanks to former Governor Nikki Haley and law signed in 2016, it is still illegal in South Carolina to have an abortion after 20 weeks. However, at any point from conception to this arbitrary 20 week-mark, it is open season to murder innocent life.
Who is at fault in South Carolina to pass sensible legislation and deliver it to the governor for signature to stop abortion? What can we learn from this egregious failure and what can be done to preserve human life and enact conservative policy?
Before we place all blame on liberal judicial activism from the bench, it is important to note that “South Carolina has a system of legislative, merit-based elections for most judicial positions,” . In other words, the conservative legislatures elect those serving on the State Supreme Court! The State Supreme Court should have never been afforded the opportunity to vote against the Fetal Heartbeat Bill due to a strong impenetrable bill that both the House and Senate drafted with overwhelming approval and subsequently signed by the Governor. But this of course did not happen.
Ultimately those serving in the Republican super-majority State House of Representatives and Senate – especially those in key positions – are to blame for this abject failure. For it is they who choose political posturing over principals, and selfish interest over unity and decisiveness for human life. It is they who failed to unify the party and bring a strong anti-abortion bill to the Governor’s desk for signature. Where much is given much is required.
When comparing both sides of the abortion aisle it is quite remarkable how unashamed, vocal and far reaching the far-left abortion activist and legislatures are. Their ability to utilize every means available, to spread their message and rise up the awareness and anger of their base is commendable. In contrast, with few exceptions (such as Senator Josh Kimbrell,) conservative legislatures are largely neutered and silent on the abortion issue and most conservative issues for that matter. Yes, they may vote against abortion, but out of complacency and comfort they resort to the good ol status quo of 1950’s Mayberry and fail to make issues heard, fail to use modern platforms to make their voice known, fail to inform and galvanize the public whom they represent. Conservative Christian legislatures who are silent on this issue would do well to read Isaiah 58:1… “Shout it out loud, do not hold back, raise your voice like a trumpet…”
So what is the solution? Start by holding elected officials accountable – beginning with those who have been in office the longest and are in key positions. If they cannot provide a sensible response to why they failed to craft and vote-on a sensible abortion bill over the course of seven months, then ask why they did not represent you and others; and when they fail to provide a sufficient answer resolve to vote for them no longer.
Demand that the conservative legislature appoint conservative originalist justices to the State Supreme Court.
Lastly, in the long term, if we are to preserve life and the fundamental principals, values and liberties of this constitutional republic we must elect principled and proven leaders who unashamedly articulate their convictions and values at all times – not just during an election year. And, are willing to stand firm, galvanize support by all modern means available and pass strong legislation no matter the opposition.
May God forgive us for failing to take advantage of this opportunity to protect innocent human life, and for the untold thousands of human babies in South Carolina who will be sucked out of their mothers womb and killed as a result.