How extreme are GOP abortion bans? So extreme that some Republicans are even daring to publicly question whether their colleagues’ Christian faith is sincere. That’s what South Carolina State Sen. Katrina Shealy did this week after her male Republican colleagues fought to remove exceptions for rape and incest in their near-total abortion bans.
As it stands, the Republicans in the State House passed an abortion ban last week that included a blanket exception to protect the life of the mother and exceptions for rape and incest up to 12 weeks. All of that is extreme. Women will suffer because of what South Carolina’s GOP lawmakers intend to do. But the point is that there are mild exceptions in the House version of the bill.
The State Senate, however, is dead-set on removing those exceptions entirely:
… that exception [for rape and incest] was removed Tuesday after an amendment written by Sen. Richard Cash, R-Anderson, passed through the Medical Affairs Committee.
Senators Tom Davis and Josh Kimbrell both attempted to amend the bill on the Senate floor to once again include exceptions for rape and incest, but their amendments were both struck down.
All three female GOP state senators voted to keep the exceptions in place. Because they all oppose reproductive rights… but even they’re not insane enough to want to force women to have their rapists’ babies.
Their male colleagues just don’t care. The senators are on the verge of passing their version of the abortion ban sometime this week, at which point the Republicans in the State House will have to decide to trash the bill or accept it without exceptions for rape and incest.
All of this, on Wednesday, led Sen. Shealy to sound off against her male colleagues… and pay special attention to the mic drop moment at the end:
… Yes, I’m pro-life. I’m also pro-life of the mother, the life she has with their children who are already born. I care about the children who are forced into adulthood that was made up by legislature full of men, so they can take a victory lap and feel good about it.
You want children raising children, who will most likely suffer domestic violence and live in poverty. But you don’t care because you’ve done your job and you will forget about them once they are born.
You will fight my legislation on foster homes and adoption. You will not support legislation to stop sex trafficking and pornography. You will not support my legislation for free meals for all children in schools. You’re not going to help me on that.
If you want to believe that God is wanting you to push a bill through with no exception, that kills 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’re just not communicating with Him at all…
… I don’t even believe your wives would agree that you know how it feels. But before I sit down, I have one thing to say to you: Think about your wives, think about your daughters, your granddaughters, your nieces, and all those cute little girls’ faces in your church. Then think about the decisions you want to make for them, even though you don’t know what their situations are…
It’s a powerful speech. It even got a rave review from Jaime Harrison, the head of the Democratic National Committee (and former Senate candidate from South Carolina):
He, along with everyone else praising this speech, left out one key point.
This speech would be a hell of a lot more powerful if Katrina Shealy hadn’t passed a cruel near-total abortion ban of her own.
In 2021, she co-sponsored her own bill to ban abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected. SHE CO-SPONSORED IT! That development is a completely arbitrary one, since the fetus still isn’t viable, but it occurs early enough in a pregnancy that anti-abortion zealots have latched onto it. With Shealy’s support, that bill was signed into law last year.
That means Shealy was going on and on about how her male colleagues were wrong to make reproductive decisions for women… all after making her own equally horrific decisions on their behalf.
The cognitive dissonance is astonishing.
You can’t complain about the extremism of the Republican Party when you’ve spent years perpetuating their extremist ideology in slightly different ways.
Even if you ignore her legislative history, just consider what she wants this week. She wants exceptions for rape and incest in a bill that would still prohibit virtually all abortions in the state.
Shealy is as much of a moral monster as her Republican colleagues. She just happens to think a woman who’s raped shouldn’t suffer as much as a woman whose birth control has failed. If a woman who isn’t a victim of rape or incest chooses to end a pregnancy, Shealy thinks that woman should be forced to give birth no matter her circumstances.
Shealy is not the hero you’re looking for. She’s part of the problem.
If she really wanted to prevent these cruel anti-abortion bills, she would urge citizens to vote for Democrats in future elections. She’ll never do that. Women’s lives don’t matter that much to her.