Proposed SC bill could make abortion a death penalty eligible offense

Several elected officials in South Carolina will receive major pay raises next year, including...
Several elected officials in South Carolina will receive major pay raises next year, including six-figure bumps for two prominent statewide politicians.(Live 5)
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 1:49 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) -South Carolina legislators are hearing a bill that would make abortion punishable by death.

Abortion is currently legal in South Carolina, as the state’s Supreme Court has vetoed all proposed legislation to restrict abortions within the state. The Court’s 3-2 decision allows abortion to remain legal in the state until 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The new bill, “South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act of 2023,″ was pre-filed on Dec. 15, 2022. Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Republican leaders have been hoping to reinstate a pre-Roe ban on almost all abortions at six weeks of pregnancy.

The bill seeks to amend the state constitution to recognize life as an individual person “from the moment of fertilization” and to define “person” to include an unborn child at any stage of development.

In altering the definition of “person” in the Palmetto State, the bill says that an unborn child who is “assaulted,” or “a victim of homicide,” would receive “equal protection under the assault laws of the state.”

Dozens of lawmakers have sponsored the bill.

According to South Carolina’s Code of Laws, a person who is convicted of or pleads guilty to murder must be punished by death, or by a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment for 30 years to life. If passed, under the bill, women receiving abortions could face the death penalty.


A recent amendment to the bill added that medical care or treatment that resulted in an abortion would not be considered homicide or break the law if it was done so to prevent the death of the pregnant woman as long as “all reasonable alternatives to save the life of the unborn child were attempted or none were available.”