‘The White Males Have Lost’: South Carolina Republicans Block Proposed State Abortion Ban, Threaten Filibuster
State Senators Katrina Shealy (R-Lexington) and Shane Martin (R-Spartanburg) react during debate concerning the ban on abortion in the South Carolina Senate chamber on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, in Columbia, South Carolina.
Credit: Tracy Glantz/The State/Tribune News Service via Getty Images.

Several Republican state senators in South Carolina blocked a proposed near total abortion ban in the state this week after at least one Republican threatened to filibuster. 

Republican State Senator Tom Davis threatened to filibuster the proposed “Human Life Protection Act,” which allowed no abortion exceptions for rape or incest. His actions effectively scuttling the legislation in the chamber, despite Republicans having a nearly 2:1 advantage in the Senate. 

Davis, who was first elected in 2009, said his daughters partly inspired him to reject the pro-life legislation. “The moment we become pregnant we lost all control over what goes on with our bodies,” Davis said his daughters told him. “I’m here to tell you I’m not going to let it happen.”

Instead of passing the stronger ban on abortion, the state Senate ended up passing a bill that made revisions to the state’s current abortion legislation, which bans abortion at around six weeks. 

South Carolina State Rep. John R. McCravy, who helped write the abortion ban in the state’s lower chamber, blasted the actions of the Republicans who killed the bill, calling Davis the “Beaufort bully.”

“This amended version does not advance the cause of life in SC and I cannot concur with a bill that does nothing,” McCravy said. “We were not called back to pass a bill we already have — we were called to re-write the laws of our state after the Dobbs decision.”

Other Republicans, including the three Republican women in the chamber, also opposed the ban. They included Sen. Katrina Shealy, Sen. Sandy Senn, Sen. Penry Gustafson, and Sen. Josh Kimbrell. 

Senn called the proposed legislation, which would ban the abortion of an unborn child with no exceptions for incest or rape, an “invasion of privacy.” 

“If what is going on in my vagina isn’t an unreasonable invasion of privacy for this legislature to get involved in, I don’t know what is,” the Republican from Charleston said. 

She also took aim at “white males” during her remarks about the legislation. 

“The white males have lost, too,” she said. “We’ve been here for two days and two nights, and we’re back basically to the same bill we passed a year ago and the Supreme Court has taken off the table at least temporarily. Here’s to hope and ladies.”

Shealy suggested that God would not want them passing the legislation and said it would “ruin the lives of children.”

“You want to believe that God is wanting you to push a bill through with no exceptions that kill mothers and ruins the lives of children — lets mothers bring home babies to bury them — then I think you’re miscommunicating with God. Or maybe you aren’t communicating with Him at all,” she said. 

The Republicans were joined in their opposition to the bill by the state Senate’s Democrats. However, the Democrats were not able to block the watered down substitute legislation which Governor Henry McMaster (R-SC) plans on signing if the House approves the revisions. 

In a statement, South Carolina Citizens for Life President Lisa Van Riper said she was disappointed with the failure of the stronger pro-life bill. 

“While we are crushed for the unborn members of our human family, we will continue to fight for protective legislation and to provide for pregnant women in need of help,” she said.

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