Nine South Carolina Republicans who co-sponsored one of the most severe anti-abortion proposals in the country have since withdrawn their support, proposing to enforce the state’s manslaughter laws for people who undergo abortions. does.
The legislation, which has had a total of 24 co-sponsors – all Republicans – since its introduction in January, has lost support from nine of them in recent weeks.
Reps. Cathy Landing and Matt Leber were the first to withdraw support in late February.
Labor, who was one of the first Republicans to support the measure in January, told NBC News he decided he could not support the bill’s current language and felt it had no chance of passage.
“In its current form, I can’t put my name to it,” Labor said. “I wouldn’t want to prosecute or accuse women, that’s never been my philosophy on pro-life issues.”
The Bill has been referred to the Rajya Sabha Judiciary Committee, but is yet to be considered. Labor said party leaders had made it clear that “the bill was dead on arrival” and would not reach the floor of the House.
“It was my intention to introduce the amendment. Clean it up,” he said. “I am very clear, that the current language of this bill is not what I stand for.”
In March, the bill began to receive more national attention. Only then other supporters started retreating.
Within two weeks of adding his name as a sponsor, Rep. David Vaughn withdrew his endorsement on Monday, along with Reps. Fawn Padalino, Brian Lawson, Randy Ligon, and Patrick Haddon.
In a text message, Vaughn told NBC News: “I removed my name because I do not believe that a woman who has an abortion should be criminalized. Also… I signed that bill by mistake. “
A day later, Representative Mark Willis said he would no longer back the bill, and on Thursday, Representative Brandon Guffey became the latest Republican to remove his name from the bill’s list of sponsors.
Explaining the change in a Facebook post, Gufi said, “I am pro-life but this includes the life of the mother.”
In an interview, Guffey said that while he hoped a bill aimed at pro-abortion would pass this session so that South Carolina would no longer serve as an “abortion paradise state”, he could not back the current version. .
“My view is simple, I do not want abortion to be used as birth control,” Guffey said. “I do not believe that a woman should be killed for having an abortion.”
Guffey said he did not realize that language included in the bill suggested that a person could face the death penalty for having an abortion prior to signing it.
He said, “I read it completely, but I did not click on the code, which is related to the death sentence to the woman.”
The remaining six legislators who withdrew their sponsorship – Padalino, Landing, Lawson, Ligon, Hayden and Willis – did not respond to requests for comment.
Representative Jordan Pace denounced the opposition and media reports that they “exaggerated the death penalty aspect” of the proposed law, arguing that a person who was charged and faced the death penalty The chances of doing so were “infinitely small”.
“It’s such an absurd delusion,” Pace said in an interview. “A lot of people who are making this claim have clearly not read the bill.”
“I think it is entirely appropriate to protect all people equally under the law, regardless of their size, shape or location,” he said. “So, if it can be proven that a person intentionally killed another person, then by definition it is manslaughter, isn’t it?”
The South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act “will ensure that an unborn child who is a victim of homicide is afforded equal protection under the state’s homicide laws.” The Bill defines a “person” as “an unborn child at every stage of development from fertilization to birth.”
Under South Carolina law, those convicted of murder can face the death penalty or a minimum of 30 years in prison.
Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, a Republican, said on twitter that the bill “has zero chance of passing.”
Rep. Rob Harris, who pushed the legislation, did not respond to a request for comment.
Rep. Nancy Mays, R.S.C. — who has criticized her party for “not showing compassion” on abortion, which she says has made it difficult to appeal to the majority of Americans who support it — urged her state legislators to support the bill punished.
“It’s very troubling to me as a woman and as a rape victim that some in my home state want to give rapists more rights than women who are raped,” Mays Tweeted Thursday. “And I don’t know why I have to say this, but hanging a woman for wanting an abortion after being raped is not for life.”
South Carolina, which currently allows abortions up to about 20 weeks of pregnancy, has repeatedly called for stricter laws prohibiting abortion.
The Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act, which bans abortion after six weeks with some exceptions, was signed into law in 2021 by Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican.
In January, the South Carolina Supreme Court struck down that ban, ruling that it violated the state’s constitutional right to privacy.
Last month, the South Carolina Senate passed an abortion ban that broadly prohibits abortion after six weeks and says it does not restrict contraception.
It also repeals a 1974 law criminalizing abortion. That bill states that a woman who has had an abortion “shall not be criminally prosecuted” for violating its provisions and is not subject to civil or criminal penalties stemming from the abortion.