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Two Senators Say Abortion Needs to Head to Ballot

Originally published by Lily Levin for Statehouse Report

Two of South Carolina’s women senators want to move the nagging fight over abortion away from the General Assembly.  It’s time for the issue to be on the ballot, they say.

S.C. Sens. Margie Bright Matthews, D-Colleton, and Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington, who were among five women senators who filibustered a 6-week abortion ban when it was in the Senate, say that instead of having elected officials call the shots, something else is needed.

“The most fair way to do this [abortion decision] would be to put it to the people,” said Shealy.  She and Matthews say they are planning to propose legislation next year that would give the abortion decision to the public. 

But Shealy noted that the proposal — and the fight for abortion rights in general— will be an “uphill battle,” given the priorities of the legislature.  

 “These legislators … want to have more babies, but none of them are willing to step up to the plate and be foster parents,” Shealy said. 

Nor will they provide assistance for children born into impoverished families, Shealy continued. “My meals in school bill … has been held up for a year, because [the legislators] think everybody can pay.” 

Matthews emphasized her colleagues in the Senate would rather pass “one iteration or another” of anti-abortion laws than even try to address hate crimes. 

“It was easier to get a referendum on the lottery issue than it is on the abortion issue. This is where we are,” Matthews admitted. 

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