Legislation looking to grant “personhood” to a human from fertilization has been introduced in the S.C. House and Senate and has support from many local delegates.
The concept of personhood has been pushed for more than a decade as a way to subvert federal laws relating to abortion.
The bill would mean the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade could be pushed aside using the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gives states the right to control issues not specifically related to the Constitution.
The anti-abortion bill contends that “a human being is a person at fertilization,” according to the Senate version of the bill, and that the “right to life for each born and pre-born human being vests at fertilization,” in the House bill.
Locally, Sen. Tom Young and Reps. Roland Smith, Don Wells and William Hixon are listed as sponsors on the bills.
The “Personhood Act of South Carolina” was introduced by Rep. Joshua Putnam, R-Anderson, on Feb 22.
The Senate version, filed Feb. 28, came from Lee Bright, R-Greenville. This is the third time Bright has introduced this legislation.
Earlier versions of personhood bills have been active in the House in all of the 15 years since the concept was first introduced.
PersonhoodUSA is a pro-life lobbying group “working to respect the God-given right to life by recognizing all human beings as persons ... from the beginning of their biological development, without exceptions,” according the organization’s website.
Opponents of the bill have argued that the act is constitutionally invalid, in that it is specifically tied to a subset of one religion’s beliefs and demands the entire General Assembly acknowledges the concept of “personhood” as defined by the lobby.
The language used picks from the South Carolina and U.S. Constitution, altered by the lexicon of the anti-abortion group.
“The General Assembly acknowledges all persons are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” the act reads. “The General Assembly acknowledges personhood is God-given, as all men are created in the image of God.”