South Carolina bill forbids abortions after a heartbeat is detected, with few exceptions
A Suid Carolina lawmaker choked up while explaining how the state’s foetal abortion law – which he voted for – nearly led to dire consequences for a 19-year-old woman.
Republikein state Rep Neal Collins told the South Carolina House Judiciary Committee that he would not be voting further in favour of the ban on abortions in its current form after hearing of the young woman’s situation, Rou verhaal berig.
The bill forbids abortions after a heartbeat is detected, usually at around 15 weke. There are provisions allowing abortions for the victims of incest or rape if the foetus is less than 20 weeks along, or to save the life of the mother.
Mr Collins spoke of the sleepless nights he had after hearing from a doctor about how the 19-year-old had come to an emergency room when her water broke after just 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Doctors were informed by attorneys that because of the state legislature’s bill they could not extract the foetus as it had a heartbeat — despite the fact it was now unviable.
It was explained to him that doctors had two choices: Admit the woman to the hospital until the heartbeat stopped, which could take anything from seconds to days – or discharge her to pass the foetus by herself in a toilet.
Mr Collins was told there was a greater than 50 per cent chance the woman would lose her uterus and a 10 per cent chance she would develop sepsis and die.
“That weighs on me. I voted for that bill. These are affecting people and we’re having a meeting about this. That whole week I did not sleep,” Mr Collins said.
After hearing of the woman’s plight, a week later, he continued, the doctors had not heard from the her. Two weeks later he checked with them again and she had now returned to the hospital.
The foetus, now with no heartbeat, was extracted.
“What we do matters,” said an emotional Mr Collins, a female colleague reaching out to touch his arm in support.
As the chairman of the committee tried to move on, Mr Collins said he was not finished and continued: “Out of respect for the process, I’m not voting today, but I want it to be clear that myself and many others are not in a position to vote for this bill without significant changes to the bill.”
The committee chair then asked for a vote on the bill, and it was approved.