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New Human Life Protection Act Clears Second Hurdle of 2023; House Judiciary Committee Vote 16-7 to Send Law to Full House

by | Feb 8, 2023

By Holly Gatling, Executive Director, South Carolina Citizens for Life

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Wednesday, February 8, 2023) The House Judiciary Committee yesterday voted 16-7 along party lines to advance the 2023 Human Life Protection Act (H3774) to the full House of Representatives for debate. All 16 Judiciary Committee Republicans voted in favor of protecting unborn human life at all stages of development; seven Democrats voted against the measure with two Democrats not voting.

The pro-life law that restores legal protection to the unborn members of our human family is sponsored by many ranking members of the House including Speaker Murrell Smith, R-Sumter, Majority Leader Davey Hiott, R-Pickens, Judiciary Committee Chairman Weston Newton, R-Beaufort, and House Family Caucus Chairman John McCravy, R-Greenwood.

Representative McCravy, R-Greenwood, who was the chief sponsor of a nearly identical bill that failed last year, and is chief sponsor of H3774, gave a detailed presentation of the bill Tuesday as he did on January 26, 2023, when the Constitutional Laws Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee issued a 3-0 favorable report.

Amy Baker, lobbyist for South Carolina Citizens for Life, reported that 6,567 pro-lifers contacted members of the House Judiciary Committee via VoterVoice and urged members to support H3774. “Never underestimate the value of your voice,” Mrs. Baker said. “Today in the House Judiciary Committee hearing, legislators across party lines stated the importance of representing their constituents. Continuous advocacy for the unborn should continue so that your Representative knows where you stand.”

Representative McCravy addressed two issues that affected the redrafting of the 2023 Human Life Protection Act. First was the South Carolina Supreme Court’s 3-2 decision to overturn the 2021 Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act. The second was addressing objections of the State Senate which killed the 2022 Human Life Protection Act.

One particularly effective message came from pro-life physician Peter Bleyer, M.D. who wrote to the lawmakers, “As president of South Carolina’s Catholic Medical Guild and medical director of two SC crisis pregnancy centers, I have come to fully understand that it is our refusal to respect life in all its stages which has led to the general disrespect for our profession. If you lie about little things, you will lie about greater ones as well. In denying the humanity of the small, newly conceived human for financial gain, we denied our ethical duty to establish a doctor-patient relationship with the child in the womb and sold out to our patients… Large physician groups have worked tirelessly since the 70s to convince America that not all life has equal value, dehumanizing that which physicians know better than anyone to be completely human. It is disappointing that government must legislate that which physicians have a natural ethical obligation to provide, but I thank you for doing so. Clearly it is necessary. Please pass H3774, the Human Life Protection Act and protect the most vulnerable members of our human family in South Carolina.”

South Carolina Citizens for Life and the state’s coalition of pro-life, pro-family organizations strongly supported H3774. These include the Catholic Diocese of Charleston, Palmetto Family, the South Carolina Baptist Convention, the South Carolina Association of Pregnancy Care Centers, the South Carolina Republican Party, and the Alliance Defending Freedom among others. Numerous pro-life physicians, nurses, and individuals with pro-life stories to tell submitted written testimony in support of H3774.

Voting in favor of H3774 were: Bailey, Brittain, Connell, Elliott, Guest, Guffey, Leber, Johnson, Jordan, Mitchell, McCravy, Newton, Robinson, Moore, Schuessler, and Wooten.

Categories: State Legislation
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