A pro-life bill that would make abortion illegal after the first 22 weeks of pregnancy is expected to be voted on by the S.C. House of Representatives in the next couple of months.
Currently, abortions in the state are legal through an entire pregnancy.
The legislation, H 4223 Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, is sponsored by S.C. Citizens for Life and is based on scientific evidence that reveals an unborn child can feel pain as early as 20 weeks.
Michael Acquilano, legislative advocate for the Diocese of Charleston, said the diocese has a vested interest in protecting unborn children and seeing the bill passed.
“It’s our duty as Catholics to be in the public square and protect the most vulnerable,” he said.
The new legislative session began Jan. 14 and legislators are expected to take up H 4223 in the beginning months. Acquilano encourages pro-life advocates to contact their representatives and express support for the bill. (www.scstatehouse.gov/legislatorssearch.php)
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone said the legislation is an important step forward.
“As Catholics we treasure each and every child, and believe that from the very moment of conception until natural death they deserve to be treated with dignity and provided with just protection under the law,” he said in a statement.
The state bill is based on the model of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act drafted by the National Right to Life’s Department of State Legislation. It was first enacted by Nebraska in 2010. Since then, Kansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Dakota and Texas have passed bills limiting the time frame for abortions.
According to findings cited by National Right to Life, substantial medical evidence demonstrates that unborn children are capable of experiencing pain. (www.nrlc.org/statelegislation/)
Research shows that an unborn child reacts to touch as early as eight weeks after fertilization. After 20 weeks, the unborn child reacts to stimuli that would be recognized as painful if applied to an adult human, for example by recoiling, the site states.
For more information, visit www.doctorsonfetalpain.com.
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