Columbia, SC (LifeNews.com) -- A South Carolina state House committee approved legislation that would require a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion can be done. The current waiting period is just one hour and state legislators believe 24 hours gives women considering an abortion more time to reflect on its risks and alternatives.
Proving the need for the legislation, four women testified that a 24-hour waiting period would have influenced them not to have an abortion that they now regret having.
Sheryl O’Neal of Johns Island described the devastating effects of her abortion in 1975.
“I was coerced to abort by my baby’s father,” she testified. “If there had been a 24-hour waiting period, I believe I would have been strengthened by that waiting period.”
Carla Harvey, a nurse, also talked with the panel and told it that, if there had been a waiting period, she would have had time to “talk to my mom” before making the irreversible decision.
She said abortion should be in line with legitimate medical procedures that offer more time for reflection and discussion.
The House Constitutional Laws Subcommittee voted Wednesday 4-0 to approve the bill. Subcommittee Chairman Greg Delleney, a Republican, indicated the bill will go to the full House Judiciary Committee for a debate and vote on February 3.
The legislation almost died when Rep. James Smith, a Democrat, offered a motion to adjourn debate, claiming he needed more time to discuss the bill with constituents. Chairman Delleney pointed out that the legislature faces a time wall and the panel defeated the motion 3-2.
Pro-life advocates expected abortion proponents on the panel to offer amendments to the measure that would weaken it.
The bill enjoys the support of several state pro-life groups, including South Carolina Citizens for Life, the South Carolina Baptist Convention, and the Palmetto Family Council.
The Woman’s Right to Know Act, approved in 1994, established the current one-hour waiting period.