According to data from the state’s health office, 55% of abortions in South Carolina in 2019 were performed after six weeks. The legislation includes exceptions for a pregnancy as a result of rape or incest, in the case of a “fetal anomaly,” or when the life of the mother is at stake.
The diocese of Charleston supported the legislation. The director of the state’s Catholic Conference, Michael Acquilano, called the passage of the bill “a historic day for the pro-life movement in South Carolina,” according to The Catholic Miscellany.
Other states have passed “heartbeat” abortion bans, including Georgia, Missouri, Louisiana, Ohio, Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Dakota.
During debate over the legislation, Democratic leader Todd Rutherford said his caucus cares about “people not dying after they’re born.”
“We don’t believe that life begins when science says it does not,” he said, calling the vote a “farce” that is “about ‘pretend life’.” Announcing the walkout, Rutherford told Republicans that his caucus would “leave you all to the farce which is a debate about—life?”
In a statement on Wednesday, Ott expressed reservations about the bill and said he offered several amendments to it, but ultimately decided to vote for the legislation because “everyone has a right to life.”
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In an interview with CNA on Wednesday, Ott explained his reservations and why he is “pro-life for the whole life.”
“I acknowledge that being a man, I can’t put myself in a woman’s shoes,” he told CNA. “I’ve never wanted to come across as someone who is telling someone else what they can and can’t do with their bodies.” However, he said he had to be “consistent” in his support of the right to life.
Ott says the issue is not an “easy” one for him.