According to a report from the Associated Press, the massive turnout of voters in Kansas that led to the rejection of a constitutional amendment that would allow conservative lawmakers to pass further restrictions –or an outright ban — on abortions in the state is being felt by Republicans elsewhere.
With 60 percent of the voters coming down on the side of choice in deep-red Kansas where Donald Trump won 56 percent of the vote in 2020, the GOP leadership in equally conservative South Carolina is rethinking how far they want to go over fears of a backlash from voters in November.
According to State Sen. Sandy Senn (R), the only Republican to vote against a six-week abortion ban that passed 18 months ago, the stunning Kansas vote was a warning shot to her conservative colleagues.
“The Kansas vote affirms what most of us know,” she explained. “It’s the people in my party, most all of them men, yelling the loudest that women should have zero choice from the moment of conception.”
As AP’s Jeffrey Collins wrote, “A total abortion ban with exceptions only if the life of the mother is in danger has just started its way through the South Carolina General Assembly. Committee hearings and floor debates in the House and Senate will have to take place before any bill lands on Republican Gov. Henry McMaster’s desk,” before adding that some GOP legislators are now beginning “to reevaluate their positions.”
One such lawmaker is Rep. Tom Davis (R) who — after noting the pushback against abortion restrictions — told AP, “It’s like you are playing with live ammunition right now. What you are deciding is going to have immediate effect on a lot of South Carolinians,” with the report adding, “Davis said he is now rethinking the whole issue, weighing the rights of a fetus to live against the rights of someone to control their own body.”
Rep. Bill Taylor (R), who whole-heartedly supported the six-week abortion ban, is now urging his colleagues to pump the brakes on any other moves, AP is reporting.
“Instead, the state should step back for a few years to see how its new law banning the procedure after six weeks works, the Republican lawmaker said. South Carolina should also examine what happens in states that now have a total ban and others that allow abortions later into pregnancies and study the foster care and other social service programs to see what can be done to help them handle an influx of births, he said. About 6,300 abortions were performed in South Carolina in 2021,” Collins wrote.
Democratic House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford cautioned that conservatives may still have something up their sleeves, predicting, “I think we will land between crazy and insane. Where that line is won’t make any sense. And we shouldn’t be in this position in the first place.”
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