Nikki Haley and Jim DeMint Wage a War on Women in South Carolina

Editor's Note: With 38 days left until the presidential election, PolicyMic's Audrey Farber will be posting a daily update on the state of abortion rights in the U.S., covering legislative challenges to Roe v. Wade in all 50 states. So far, we've gotten updates on North CarolinaVirginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, DelawareNew JerseyNew York, ConnecticutVermontMassachusetts, Rhode IslandMaine and New Hampshire. Check back in every day to keep track!

South Carolina:

South Carolina GOP Chair Chad Connelly is under the impression that the Democratic Party is under the impression that “abortions and taxpayer-funded birth control are rites of passage for every teenage girl -- sort of like the prom or a first car.”

South Carolina Democratic Party Executive Director Amanda Loveday responds without surprise, reminding voters of the time when “our female governor [Nikki Haley] called rape crisis centers special interests and a distraction,” which she then vetoed from the State budget. Haley made waves with a July veto of $500,000 intended for rape crisis centers, saying “these special add-on lines distract from the [Department of Health]’s broader mission of protecting South Carolina’s public health,” even though the state’s rate of sexual violence has been higher than the national average for the past thirty years. She also thinks that women’s issues and the party platforms regarding abortion just “don’t matter.”

Under Haley’s watch, the State legislature passed a bill that, in compromise form, blocked taxpayers’ money -- public money -- from being used to cover abortions in cases of rape, incest, or to preserve the life of the mother for women served by the state health insurance plan. In an older February 2012 version, masterminded in part by State Senator Kevin Bryant, coverage of abortion in cases of rape and incest would be completely omitted from the state health plan. This bill died, and was reborn in April. It ultimately passed but with all three Hyde exceptions. State worker’s premiums can be used to cover those abortions under the state health plan, but the workers can opt out.

This bill is just the last in a long series: Cutting-edge South Carolina was one of the first to battle an ultrasound bill in 2007. At that time, the waiting period between reading the information materials generously provided by the state and having the actual procedure was one hour. In 2009, it became 24 hours. South Carolina also has a parental consent law.

It’s not just South Carolina’s politicians. On the 11th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Columbia Christians for Life let us in on a little secret: God levied the attacks as punishment for “the national sin of abortion.” In fact, this sin is so rampant and dangerous it was also responsible for the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. This group is so convinced of the abortion-disaster causality they make it a point to note, “Planned Parenthood in Beaufort started committing surgical abortions in 2000, then closed Sept. 14, 2001 (three days after 9-11).” But abortion is so much worse than just a catalyst for national and natural disasters: the Macedonia Baptist Church in Columbia, S.C., reminded us earlier this year that abortion is the “ultimate racism” because “abortionists target black babies.”

Of course, we can’t forget when South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint submitted an amendment to an Agriculture appropriations bill to “block telemedicine for the robo-abortions,” which according to NARAL would “bar discussion of abortion over the Internet.” Well, here we are.

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Audrey Farber

After graduating from some prestigious university somewhere, I worked for academic research, social justice, and arts non-profits in the U.S., Israel, Jordan. I formerly ran a collective blogging project and contributed to Middle East-oriented discussions around the interwebs until I gave up on changing the world. I usually believe in complete social revolution and I make it a point to flout every social expectation I encounter. I do this by living in the Rocky Mountains (for realz) and complaining about tourists, enjoying waffles for dinner, putting easter egg links in my posts, and wishing I was way nerdier. I also like to think I'm the funniest person you've ever met, which may or may not be true. I've also driven across the country by myself more times than I'd care to admit.

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