COLUMBIA, S.C. (Christian Examiner) -- Lawmakers in South Carolina are one step closer to letting voters decide in the 2016 election whether human rights apply to the unborn from the point of conception.
A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the South Carolina Constitution extending personhood rights to the pre-born was introduced last week to the state's lawmakers. If approved by a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate the resolution will appear on the upcoming ballot.
Introduced by Sen. Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg) and Rep. Bill Chumley (R-Spartanburg) on April 28, the bill's sponsors seek to give South Carolina citizens a "Yes" or "No" voice to the following question:
"Must Article I of the Constitution of this State be amended so as to add Section 3.a. to provide that the privileges and immunities of citizens of South Carolina and the United States shall not be abridged, so that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws? These rights shall extend to both born and preborn persons beginning at conception."
Though Bright has introduced a number of pro-life bills in the past, this is the first time a law has been filed proposing a constitutional amendment.
Last year, Bright pre-filed a number of other bills, that would in effect ban abortions throughout various points of a woman's pregnancy. In December Bright told news sources that voters desired to see anti-abortion legislation passed, but lawmakers were unwilling to consider the measures.
"In South Carolina you have an electorate that is pro-life but you've got a legislature that doesn't have the political will," Bright said. "I file them and you fight for them; it's a matter of what the people demand."
The fact that personhood bills have remained active in the South Carolina legislature every year since 1998 could be considered evidence of Bright's claims according to a press release from Christians for Personhood.
A release from the organization claimed voters in the June 2014 Republican Primary already approved a personhood constitutional amendment by more than 78% in 45 counties where voters were asked (noted on the ballot as Advisory Question #1) the same question word for word.
"[W]e are calling on S.C. legislators, not only to let the people vote, but to let the people vote on what over 240,000 Republican primary voters have already shown by their votes they believe," Steve Lefemine, executive director of Christians for Personhood, said.
Should South Carolina voters pass an amendment to the their constitution, the state would be the first to provide human rights protections to the preborn. In recent years, conservatives in Mississippi, North Dakota, Virginia and Colorado unsuccessfully attempted similar measures.