A number of key legislative initiatives made their way through the South Carolina state house in the past week, including the controversial Heartbeat Bill.
Representative Chris Wooten addresses the SC House
The Heartbeat Bill outlaws abortions in the state of South Carolina once a fetal heartbeat has been detected. The heartbeat is usually detectible during the first six to eight weeks of pregnancy. After a tumultuous day that saw the majority of the Democrat members walk out of the debate, the Sergeant at Arms exercised the legal right to require the missing members to return. The bill passed by a vote of 79-35. It was signed into law by Governor McMaster on Thursday.
The Heartbeat Bill legislation contains exceptions for abortions due to rape and incest. Those types of abortions make up only one percent of all abortions.
“The Heartbeat Bill is a huge step in the right direction of protecting the innocent life of the unborn, and I am honored to be part of the most significant pro-life bill to pass in South Carolina history,” said Representative Bill Taylor, House District 86.
Within twenty-four hours of its passage, Planned Parenthood filed suit in federal court in Columbia. The federal judge, who was appointed by President Obama, granted a two week temporary restraining order blocking the law from taking effect. There will be a hearing on March 9th to review a more extensive injunction. A protracted legal battle is expected.
Also this past week, there were a series of bills in the House Judiciary Committee to reform the election system in South Carolina. Each region of our state has a unique election system and no central authority exists to maintain a cohesive system. “These bills aim to streamline and structure our state’s election system, preserving the integrity of every citizen’s vote,” said Chris Wooten, from House District 69.
Wooten also lent his support to a bill expanding the availability of Palmetto Fellows scholarships to students attending technical colleges. “As we are aware that every child isn't going to go to a four-year college, I was proud to support a bill proposing that students attending two-year institutions (including technical colleges) may qualify for the Palmetto Fellows scholarship,” he said. Representative Taylor also supported the bill. This legislation passed by a vote of 115-0.