Source Associated Press; May 11, 2001
Columbia, SC -- The South Carolina state House debate began Thursday on the "Unborn Victims Act of 2001." The pro-life bill is an effort to offer additional legal protection for mothers and unborn children when violent criminals assault a pregnant woman and kill or injure the unborn child.
The bill includes "an unborn child at every state of gestation in utero from conception until live birth" in its definition of a person.
The state Senate has a similar bill, but it is on the contested calendar and unlikely to be debated before legislators go home June 7. The state House passed a similar bill last year, but the bill died in June at the end of the two-year session without Senate debate.
Rep. Chip Campsen, R-Isle of Palms and the bill's sponsor, says the bill mirrors what the U.S. House passed on April 26 that makes it a federal crime to harm an unborn child during an assault on the mother on federal property.
About half the states have similar laws. One like it in North Carolina was used earlier this year to convict former Carolina Panthers football player Rae Carruth on charges of conspiracy and use of an instrument -- a gun -- with the intent of killing an unborn child in the slaying of his pregnant girlfriend, Cherica Adams.
Jueschke says the bill "merely increases the penalties after harm has occurred," he said.
Holly Gatling, director of South Carolina Citizens for Life, said state law already gives an unborn child recognition at 24 weeks. The bill "just makes a logical extension of the definition of personhood," she said.
The House will resume debate on the bill Tuesday. For additional information, contact South Carolina Citizens for Life, 1401 Calhoun Street, Columbia, SC 29201, (803) 252-5433.