The Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee is holding a public hearing on H 3020, which bans most abortion at six weeks, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tues. Sept. 10, at the Gressette Building at the Statehouse in Columbia.
This move has prompted a strong response from Planned Parenthood leaders in Charleston, who has created a Facebook event to get people ready for the hearing.
The organization is also organizing carpools to get as many Charlestonians as possible to Columbia so they can share their thoughts.
Planned Parenthood said there will be two testimony windows, one from 10 a.m. to noon, and another from 2-4 p.m., each with their own sign-in sheets. (The particulars are subject to change.)
The Women's Rights and Empowerment Network advocacy group has also compiled a list of items to know ahead of the hearings today.
Lawmakers in the S.C. House of Representatives passed the bill in April. As politicians in the Senate take the measure limiting abortion rights, Planned Parenthood says, "Abortion is a normal component of comprehensive reproductive healthcare. It is critical for abortion to remain a safe and legal medical procedure for a woman and her doctor to consider if and when she needs it — without interference from politicians."
The legislature banned most abortions at 20 weeks in 2014. Critics of the proposed bans say the bill goes against precedent set in Roe v. Wade in 1973, guaranteeing a woman's right to end her pregnancy unless the fetus is viable.
Committee hearings are underway now, but the legislature is not scheduled return to Columbia to consider the bill until 2020.
The bill joins a number of other state legislative bills that further restrict reproductive rights of women, including Georgia's, which prompted nationwide debate and blowback from multiple organizations and companies, like Netflix, Amazon and Disney.