Health Reproductive Rights

South Carolina Bill Introduced That Would Compensate Pregnant People Forced to Give Birth

South Carolina state Senator Mia McLeod has introduced a bill called the South Carolina Pro Birth Accountability Act, or SB 928, that would compel the state to provide financial support to pregnant people forced to give birth due to the state’s proposed ban on abortion after six weeks.

The legislation would mandate that the state of South Carolina not only pay the expenses related to the pregnancy, but also cover the costs of raising the child until they are 18. The bill asserts that since a six-week-old embryo is not medically viable outside the womb, people experiencing pregnancy who cannot access abortion due to the state’s abortion ban are involuntarily acting as gestational surrogates for the state of South Carolina and therefore are entitled to the same compensation that voluntary surrogates receive.

“It’s not a tongue-in-cheek kind of bill. It took a lot of thought and a lot of preparation because no other state has introduced anything remotely similar and it certainly warrants a very thoughtful and deliberate discussion and debate, and I hope that we’ll have that,” said McLeod. “Every year, there is some bill that seeks to take from women. This is a way to give them a real chance at life.”

Compensation would include immediate eligibility for welfare benefits, including TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), and WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) which would continue until the child reaches the age of 18. South Carolina would also be required to cover any legal, medical, and mental health related expenses during and immediately after the pregnancy, including home visits from a private nurse. The state must also pay for a college savings plan for the child. If the pregnancy results in a disability for the parent or child, the state must pay all costs associated with that disability.

“Clearly the state has indicated it has a vested interest in this issue, so if that is the case, and if we are about to do what would be required under the fetal heartbeat bill, then surely there would be some provisions made for the women and girls who are forced to carry these babies to term,” stated McLeod.

The South Carolina abortion ban has been approved by the state House and will advance to the state Senate in 2020. South Carolina governor Henry McMaster has publicly stated that he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

Sources: Rewire News  12/13/19; Vice 12/16/19; SC Post and Courier 12/16/19

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