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The Freedom of Conscience Act and the Huh? Caucus

April 15th, 2011 No comments

Americans United for Life analyzes state laws related to Life every year. AUL even goes so far as to rank the states in the strength of their laws on abortion, protection of the unborn (in contexts outside of abortion), bioethics, the end-of-life, and health care freedom of conscience.

South Carolina is currently ranked 19th of the 50 states. 19th. We can do better.

But in order to be rated among the Top Ten pro-life states in the country, we must close two serious gaps: Born Alive Infant Protection and Conscience Protection. We discussed Born Alive in our last message to you.

When it comes to Conscience, though South Carolina law is very strong on the right to object to taking part in abortion, there is no protection for health care professionals or institutions in other ethically questionable areas such as stem cell research or euthanasia.

So, we were glad to see H.3408, the South Carolina Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Act, which came up on the House floor for an extended debate last Tuesday.

If you read the online voting score sheet on H. 3408 posted on the statehouse website, you will see that 69 members voted in favor of final passage of the bill, 41 voted against, 5 were excused, and eight 8 just didn’t bother to vote.

We win. Sounds good. But what does it really mean?

To get a clear picture of the real position of each individual legislator on the larger issue of Life, we must consider all votes cast on Born Alive and Conscience last Tuesday. So, Palmetto Family took all 9 roll calls and analyzed them in a huge spreadsheet (1,107 cells for those of you who appreciate such things).

When tallied, the nine roll call votes reveal three distinct groups of legislators as pie charted above:

  • 60% voted pro-life every single time. This Consistently Pro-Life group of 74 voted pro-life right down to procedural motions like tabling and “carrying over,” as well as amendments and final passage.
  • 20% were equally as consistent on the other side. These 25 or so Consistently Pro-”Choice” members of the General Assembly voted wrong every single time, whether it be procedural or passage.
  • 20% could be called The Huh? Caucus (24). These state representatives did everything they could to water down the bill by voting for amendments that would have weakened it. Or, they voted to kill the bill procedurally. But, with 60% of the House sticking with the pro-life position every single time the voting bell rang, these folks eventually reversed course and voted for final passage. That way they could say they voted for the bill while actually trying to eviscerate it. This group voted Aye only when the outcome was inevitable. Of the 24, seven (7) members in particular were all over the map. They voted for some weakening amendments and not others, and some didn’t vote for final passage after voting against some of the weakening amendments.

Palmetto Family Alliance will continue to monitor the voting records of the members of the South Carolina House and Senate in preparation for our 2011-2012 Legislative Scorecard. The Scorecard will include The Huh? Caucus. To review the Scorecard from the last legislative session, please visit this page.

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South Carolina Pro-Life Agenda 2011-2012

February 17th, 2011 No comments

We are pleased to announce our agenda for the promotion of a Culture of Life for the new legislative session.

Born Alive Infant Protection Act

Twenty-four 24 states have born alive protections

  • The federal law was passed on a voice vote in US House of Representatives on March 12, 2002 and in US Senate by 98-0 on June 19, 2002 and signed by President Bush on August 5, 2002.
  • The bill passed due in great measure to the testimony of nurse Jill Stanek about babies who survived abortions and were born alive being left to die alone.
  • Federal law applies in only limited circumstances (federal hospitals, federally-funded hospitals, etc), so state laws can provide additional protection.
  • This issue is even more important in the light of Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” Philadelphia abortion clinic where seven infants were born alive and stabbed to death with scissors. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “one premature infant wiggled around on a counter for 20 minutes before an untrained worker slit his neck after first playing with him.”

Federal Abortion Mandate Opt Out Bill

Already opted out since March 23: Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri

  • The new federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPAC) of 2010 requires states to operate health insurance exchanges.
  • These exchanges are eligible for federal subsidies.
  • Specific language in PPAC allows states to opt out of allowing abortion coverage to be offered for plans in their states; an “invitation” to opt out.
  • President Obama’s March 24, 2010 abortion executive order doesn’t prevent federal subsidies from going to plans that cover abortion.
  • More women have abortions when covered by insurance.
  • A state’s failure to cover abortion is not an “undue burden” [Rust v. Sullivan].
  • States can provide unequal subsidies of abortion vs. other medical procedures [Rust v. Sullivan et al.].

Freedom of Conscience Act

  • South Carolina’s conscience law on abortion is among the best in the country.
  • But, the statute does not include other areas where conscience is an issue, like cloning, euthanasia, artificial insemination, dispensing of drugs, etc.
  • There are numerous examples around the country where medical professionals are being coerced into violating their consciences, to choose between their values and their livelihood.
  • This bill would bring other procedures where conscience is an issue into the state statute as a new article.

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Graphing the Mandate

November 4th, 2010 No comments

In providing analysis on Tuesday night of state and national elections, I found The New York Times website to be invaluable. One tool in its politics section was particularly useful for assessing the magnitude of the earthquake.

If you click here, the US Congress page, you will find a sliding toggle on the far left of the screen labeled “year.” If you watch the map while you slide the toggle from left to right, you can see the change in the partisan alignment of the lower house from 2000-2010. It is very interesting in particular to watch the South and Midwest.

Election night saw a number of pro-life candidates defeat pro-choice ones. Eleven (11) of the twelve (12) pro-life candidates targeted for help by our friends at Americans United for Life Action in their Life Counts campaign were elected (92%). (Click here for the full story.)

Included in this AUL-A list is the victory of our own Mick Mulvaney over John Spratt. You may have heard our ads on the radio in this race, which were produced in cooperation with Citizenlink (formerly Focus on the Family Action). It was Mick who came by the Palmetto Family office in the spring of 2006 with the idea for the ultrasound bill that is now law. It is great to see him move up the ladder.

South Carolina’s other freshmen congressmen are Tim Scott (founding board member of Palmetto Family in 1994), Jeff Duncan (93% on Palmetto Family Alliance Scorecard for 2009-2010), and Trey Gowdy, a personal friend and long time supporter of our work. Each of these men have a strong commitment to Palmetto Family values and are uniquely gifted for shaking up Washington.

It will be fun to watch Mick, Tim, Jeff and Trey. We expect great things. How exciting it would be for these four freshmen to join returning Congressman Joe Wilson as winners of the True Blue Award for scoring 100% on the FRC Scorecard.

Here is another cool graphic showing the shift 2008-2010 only. Don’t miss this one.

Stand Up for Life: Pro-Life March and Rally

January 12th, 2010 No comments


An event you won’t want to miss!

Palmetto Family encourages you to attend this important rally at the State House.

Spread the word to help ensure a good turnout!

Stand Up for Life: Pro-Life March and Rally

Featuring: Damon Owen, New Jersey Director for the National Organization for Marriage and spokesman for L.E.A.R.N., the independent network of African-American Pro-Life organizations.

Stop the Abortion Agenda

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Columbia, SC

Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Tony Beam

Host of “Christian World View Today” on WLFJ Radio

Music by “Joyful Sound”

11:00 am – Line up for the march, USC Russell House, Greene Street

11:30 am – Knights of Columbus lead marchers to SC State House

Noon – Rally begins at the State House, Gervais Street side

For more information, contact SC Citizens for Life, 803-252-5433 (sccl@sclife.org)

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Hope and Hype on Stem Cells

October 4th, 2009 No comments

Stem Cells: Hope, Hype and Holding Back
by G. Steven Suits, MD

Bob, a 70 year-old resident of Atlanta, Georgia, had been through two open heart operations because of heart problems. His condition deteriorated again, but his doctors told him he could not have a third procedure. Rather than give in to the “there is nothing that can be done” mentality, he sought help outside the United States and received stem cell injections into his heart tissue. Now, he can go for 30-minute walks, and has vacationed in Florida and Antigua. The stem cell injections generated new blood vessels and heart muscle in his heart. Stories such as this one are becoming more common, and centers in the United States, such as the well-renown Texas Heart Institute, are using stem cell technology to offer hope in previously little hope situations.

Read more…

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24 Hour Bill Advances

February 4th, 2009 No comments

Thanks to the strong leadership of Rep. Greg Delleney (Chester) the bill changing South Carolina’s abortion reflection period from ONE HOUR to TWENTY-FOUR HOURS cleared an important hurdle yesterday.

After an hour or so of debate, the SC House Judiciary Committee passed H.3245 on a voice vote without amendment.

The debate was not without fireworks, as freshman pro-life Rep. Wendy Nanney (Greenville) stood tall for the bill in the face of cross-examination by pro-abortion Rep. Todd Rutherford (Richland).

The legislation now moves to the House floor, where it will be up for a vote soon.

Please watch for instructions from Palmetto Family Alliance on how you can help with that key roll call.

If you made a call or sent an email, thank you! If you didn’t, we will need you on the next vote.

Note: At ONE HOUR, South Carolina’s reflection period is the shortest in the country among states with waiting periods. TWENTY-FOUR hours is the national standard.

Categories: legislative, life Tags: ,