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Republican women are helping block an abortion ban in South Carolina

The bill the women are blocking would ban abortion after conception and only allow the procedure for rape or incest in the first trimester.
Republican women are helping block an abortion ban in South Carolina
Posted at 4:19 PM, May 10, 2023

Five women with different political points of view are blocking an attempt to severely restrict abortion rights in South Carolina.

State Senators Katrina Shealy, Penry Gustafson and Sandy Senn are Republicans. State Sen. Margie Bright-Matthews is a Democrat and state Sen. Mia McLeod is an Independent. They call themselves "The Sisters."

The women have repeatedly blocked a bill that would ban abortion after conception in South Carolina. The bill has exceptions in cases of rape or incest, but only if the woman is still in her first trimester. 

"Women don’t want the legislature in the doctor’s office with us," Shealy said in an interview with Scripps News. "It’s our decision to decide whether or not we want to have an abortion."

Shealy noted that the majority of the South Carolina legislature is men and they are spearheading the more restrictive bill. 

"I just think that we should be able to make those choices for ourself — with our doctor, our spouse or whoever’s making those decisions with us — it’s not the legislature’s decision," she said.

SEE MORE: South Carolina Republicans advance new abortion restrictions

Shealy and Senn told Scripps News they are in favor of some restrictions on abortion, but not a total ban. 

Shealy said the women of the Senate wanted to introduce a 12-week abortion ban, but were told "no" by the men. She said she agreed on a 6-week abortion ban as a compromise. However, the state senator said she's continually become concerned as Republicans have tried to restrict abortion access even more.

"They want abortions after conception, which no one can really tell you what conception is, but that’s what they want," Shealy said.

Response to the women standing up to members of their own party has been overwhelmingly positive, they said. 

However, Senn noted that Republican leadership has threatened to run someone against her next year. 

The women say they won’t back down, and they hope more women or moderate men are elected to the legislature so they can come to a compromise on abortion rights.

Abortion is currently legal in South Carolina up to 22 weeks of pregnancy. 

SEE MORE: North Carolina legislature passes 12-week abortion ban

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