State Watch

GOP lawmaker decries state bill that could execute a woman over an abortion

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)
Greg Nash
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) discusses the House Rules package after a closed-door House Republican conference meeting on Tuesday, January 10, 2023.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) on Tuesday decried a South Carolina bill that would criminalize abortion as a homicide and allow women who undergo the procedure to become eligible for the death penalty in the state, criticizing the GOP for not finding a more middle-ground approach to the contentious issue.

“There were 21 members of the South Carolina state legislature that, not only did they draft a bill, but they actually filed a bill that would criminalize women who had abortion and charge them with murder and in the state of South Carolina, murder can mean execution,” Mace said in an interview on The Hill’s “Rising.” 

“In a sense, the state, if it were to pass — it will never pass, thankfully — but they were going to give more rights to a rapist than the woman who had been raped. They were going to put women up to the death penalty who had abortions for any reason,” Mace said. 

Republican lawmakers in South Carolina put forward a bill that would redefine “person” under state law to include a fertilized egg, which would then receive the protection of the state’s homicide laws. 

The bill would include exceptions for women who get abortions because of “the threat of imminent death or great bodily injury,” but not for rape or incest. 

Mace, who has said she was raped at age 16, has taken a more moderate stance on abortion, distancing herself from many in the Republican party. She said the GOP “learned nothing” from the November midterms, when GOP candidates lost a number of key races and failed to take control of the Senate, if they continue with the party’s current abortion stance. 

“And so you see these conversations happening and actual legislation being filed. And it’s like, what the hell is going on here? This is not right, and certainly doesn’t show any compassion to women. And we as Republicans, as a party, learned nothing from the midterm election if that is the playbook going forward,” she said. 

The South Carolina lawmaker said her district transformed from “mildly pro-choice” to “vast majority pro-choice” after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade last summer, and she warned that the GOP could face a rough 2024 if it acknowledges how important the issue is to some swing voters and look for a middle ground. 

“People can be pro-life but also not want the laws to change. … And the Republican Party was tone deaf on this issue. It’s going to hurt us in ‘24. It’ll hurt our chances of winning the White House back, and we’re going to be in a dog fight to win and keep the majority in ‘24 in the House,” Mace said.  

Her talk on “Rising” echoes sentiments she summarized on an op-ed last week for Charleston’s Post and Courier, blasting the state-level bill.

“You heard that right. Some S.C. lawmakers are so pro-life, they want to extend the death penalty to women who have been raped. I think we may have to disagree after all,” she wrote.

Tags abortion Nancy Mace Nancy Mace South Carolina

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