A South Carolina lawmaker choked up while expressing regret for his vote on an anti-abortion bill that could cost a teenager her uterus. In testimony before the state’s House Judiciary Committee, GOP Rep. Neal Collins told members they could not count on his vote to ban all abortions except to save the mother’s life.
The near-total ban has no exceptions for rape or incest.
Visibly emotional, Collins revealed that he lost sleep after learning of doctors’ decision not to extract the fetus from a 19-year-old young woman whose water broke at 15 weeks – putting the chances of her losing her uterus at over 50%.
There is also a 10% chance the expectant mother of the unviable fetus could die of sepsis.
Rep. Collins recounts the young woman’s story, which the lawmaker was told by an Anderson, South Carolina physician after she left the hospital:
“A 19-year-old girl appeared at the ER. She was 15 weeks pregnant. Her water broke and the fetus was unviable The standard of care was to advise her that they could extract or she could go home. The attorneys told the doctors that because of the fetal heartbeat bill, because that 15-week-old had a heartbeat, they could not extract so their only choices were to admit the 19-year-old until that fatal heartbeat stopped or discharge.”
When Collins asked the attending how long until the heartbeat stopped, she replied, “seconds, minutes, hours–maybe days.”
The girl was discharged.
“That weighs on me,” Collins remarked. “I voted for that bill. These are affecting people and we’re having a meeting about this. That whole week I did not sleep.”What we do matters,” Collins said, pausing to collect himself. “Out of respect for the process, I’m not voting today. But I want it to be clear that myself and many others are not in a position to vote for this bill without significant changes to the bill.”
Rep. Collins followed up with the physician who informed him that the young woman did return to the hospital two weeks later. They were able to remove the fetus because there was no longer a detectable heartbeat.
His emotional testimony failed to sway his colleagues and the bill – introduced 10 days after the draft leak of the Supreme Court’s intent to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling – passed 13-7 along party lines.
Five committee members – including three Republicans – abstained.
Co-author of the bill, state Rep. John McCravy (R), insists the legislation doesn’t endanger women’s health care, saying, “In fact, this was the No. 1 misconception we found repeated in the public hearing.”
The trigger ban makes abortions after six weeks illegal, unless the mother is at risk of death, has a significant chance of death, or has, “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant person.”
Watch the video of South Carolina Republican Representative Neal Collins discussing his regrets below.
Original reporting by David Edwards at RawStory.
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