Hey, those other girls! My name is Jessica Newell and I am a pro-life advocate in the state of South Carolina. I currently attend Coastal Carolina University as an interdisciplinary major, and my focus of study is pro-life advocacy. I am so happy to be the president and founder of a pro-life, student organization called ILLUMINATE (with Students for Life)! We have been fighting tirelessly to abolish abortion in our state, and elsewhere. It’s been an incredible journey. There is a lot to follow regarding the status of abortion in South Carolina, so I wanted to break it down and let you guys know what I’ve been up to so far:)
Thursday, July 7th 2022, was my first time ever testifying at the state level. Senator Richard Cash had proposed the S. 1373 Equal Protection at Conception No Exceptions Act, which if passed, would protect all human beings from the moment of fertilization (except in cases where a mother’s life may be at risk). This was an incredible start. As I stood in front of our representatives, I boldly stated my case; which can be summarized in three unadulterated truths:
1. Abortion always ends a human life, and killing human beings is always wrong
2. In order to end the continuous cycle of violence that is induced through abortion, we must redistribute our efforts into ending the suffering opposed to the sufferer
3. We have resources for women who may find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy, and we are equipped to provide them with the care that they need to successfully and full-heartedly choose life for their baby
After hearing much public testimony, S. 1373 passed through the house! Much controversy, rigorous debate, and consistent protesting by Planned Parenthood led us to make another trip up to the courthouse on Wednesday, August 16th & 17th, 2022. As Planned Parenthood’s pro-death culture began to permeate the media, our public support for HB5399, Protection at Conception Act, became vital. We spoke to the media, held signs containing fetal imagery, and chanted the truth; loud and proud through our megaphones, for all to hear. We watched as HB5399 successfully passed, 13 to 7 (with no amendments), through the House Judiciary Committee!!
Up to this point it had been a fairly smooth process, but the life of HB5399 has been a bumpy one. On August 17th, the South Carolina Supreme Court threw us for a loop by blocking the heartbeat law. The court had put a temporary injunction on the ban because of the state’s 1974 codification of Roe into state law. It was heavily debated within the courts to determine whether the ban was constitutional considering a person’s right to privacy. Meanwhile, there was much conversation regarding the implementation of a rape and incest exception to HB5399; leaving all eyes on the Republican representatives who were split between this decision.
With a 25 to 75 vote, the house voted down the amendment to add this exception… but a motion to reconsider the vote had passed. To our dismay, the ban ended up passing with an exception for rape and incest. Despite this push and pull, our strong pro-life senators did not surrender in the fight for life! The South Carolina Medical Affairs Committee voted 7-3 for an amendment to remove the exception! Senator Josh Kimbrell subsequently proposed another amendment for rape and incest up to 6 weeks gestation, which was carried over. This cut-off time continued to fluctuate over the course of the hearing, but it became clear that the house would not pass the bill without this exception. The senate adjourned after failing to pass the bill. Protection at conception was removed in its totality on September 8th, 2022.
Up to date: The House will be returning on Tuesday, September 27th, to continue with its debate on HB5399, but as of now we are in a deadlock.
Despite the many roadblocks, we will continue to fight in South Carolina until every single human being’s life is protected under the law; at the very moment in which they are conceived! The fight is not over until abortion is outright abolished, unavailable, and unthinkable. I will never stop fighting for life. My own life was a gift from God, and failure to act would be a blatant abuse of that gift. So I encourage you to do the same- be bold, be confident, and be proud to be those other girls❤️
Prayer: to the person on the other side of this screen, I pray that you never forget Jesus’ love for you. He created your inmost being, and knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). Before you were born He saw your unformed substance, and attributed a purpose to your life. His image is the perfect image in which you reflect, and through Jesus Christ there is no flaw in you. I pray that this knowledge gives you the motivation to fight for your pre-born brothers and sisters in the same way that God fights for you. His love is incomprehensible in width and height. Sharing His truth is worth losing our worldly social status. God gave us the gift of life through Jesus, and through Him we are undeservingly set free. May we praise Him for the rest of our lives; letting Him use us as vessels to save others. Jesus, we lift up HB5399 and everyone working to implement protection at conception in South Carolina. May Your favor rest upon them and Your children be saved. John 10:10.