Sunday, March 25, 2007
Gamesmanship permeates abortion debate
25, 2007 -- The continuing, or perhaps continual, debate over
abortion is politics at its worst.
At its best, politics is how people of differing viewpoints
work together to find a way to accomplish something for the
public. The process involves listening, negotiating, compromising,
sharing, offers and counter-offers. It embraces influences
of constituencies, consideration of long-term personal and
statewide impacts, and more.
But with debates like those surrounding abortion, politics
is little better than a game of one-upsmanship.
On one side are people - generally liberals - who have the
Chicken Little syndrome. Everywhere they look, the sky is
falling and abortion is going to be illegal tomorrow. This
is despite the fact that polls show two-thirds of Americans
oppose overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision
that legitimized a woman's right to choose to have an abortion.
So they're constantly on the defensive and worked up about
any challenges to abortion rights.
On the other side are people - generally conservatives -
who want to try anything to undercut the Roe decision.
So every year in the legislature, they introduce bills that
seek to fiddle with or erect barriers to a woman having an
Such is the case now with the S.C. General Assembly - again.
Despite the fact that South Carolina has one of the nation's
toughest "informed consent" laws to require counseling
of all options about the unborn to pregnant women considering
an abortion, bills in the House and Senate seek to erect more
The silly bill of the year seeks to have a state commission
to work on erecting a statue on the Statehouse grounds to
honor the memory of unborn children. Another seeks to prevent
abortions by requiring doctors to counsel women on whether
fetuses can experience pain.
encourage your feedback. If you'd like to respond to
something in SC Statehouse Report, please
send us an e-mail. We reserve the right to edit for
length and clarity. One submission allowed per month.
Submission of a comment grants permission to us to reprint.
Please keep your comment to 250 words or less:
But another bill that panders to the worst kind of politics
has picked up steam, passed the S.C. House on a 91-23 vote
and is headed to the Senate. It would require women interested
in abortions to view an ultrasound image of the fetus. If
the bill passes and is signed by Gov. Mark Sanford, who says
he's for it, South Carolina would become the first state in
the nation to require ultrasound viewings.
Three points to consider:
- All of these bills, including the one on ultrasound viewings,
are written and fervently backed by men.
- In South Carolina, doctors who perform abortions already
take ultrasound images as common practice. A pregnant woman
can choose to view images today if she wants.
- Requiring viewings of the ultrasounds would be an additional
state law - - an extra use of the strong arm of government.
Its use doesn't square with the conservative philosophy
of limited government. As Sen. Kevin Bryant, the Anderson
Republican who is sponsoring the ultrasound bill in the
Senate admitted, sometimes people have to pick their battles.
In this case, it's between the philosophy of limited government
and that of using an activist government to accomplish political
goals. Bryant and other conservatives picked the latter.
The ultrasound law being sought by conservatives is interesting
because it doesn't interfere directly with a woman's right
to choose. "It leaves the choice intact," Bryant
But it is a barrier because it's just another thing that
a woman has to go through before making her choice.
Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, an Orangeburg Democrat, says the
tactic is little more than "emotional blackmail"
to make a woman feel guilty about her choice. In other words,
it's a clever tactic to ratchet up the political gamesmanship
in the never-ending abortion war.
"Our informed consent laws are very strong and very
appropriate," Cobb-Hunter said. "This is overkill."
She and others find the conservative concern for unborn children
to be somewhat hypocritical because of how the state fails
to deal successfully with the poor, hungry and those in need.
"They love a fetus in utero, but once that fetus
is born into the world, there seems to be no love for the
new child or the mother. All I want them to do is show them
some love - not just inside the womb, but outside as well."
The ultrasound notification bill faces an uncertain future
in the Senate. But one thing is for sure: as long as the debate
over abortion goes on, the political gamesmanship will continue.
Aren't there better things to do?
You can reach Andy Brack, publisher of
SC Statehouse Report, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another great cartoon by Bill McLemore:
3/20: Payday lending is sought-after service
To the editor:
Your 3/11 article
on payday-lending legislation made some good points, particularly
about the clear demand for payday advances. I would like to
expand on a few of your observations.
As you noted, there is a huge demand for our product. Our
customers seek out our service because they appreciate the
transparency of an upfront fixed fee as opposed to compounding,
high interest rates and late payment fees on credit cards
or overdraft fees on checking accounts. They are hardworking
middle-class Americans, with a median household income of
$41,000; 86 percent have a high school diploma and nearly
half of them own their homes. These consumers understand exactly
why using a payday advance is a better option than other more
The equivalent of 390 percent interest rate you
mention is an annual one. As required by federal law, we always
disclose the annual percentage rate, or APR, for our product.
But we believe that annual interest rates are better used
to assess the costs of long-term, high-dollar-amount loans
like mortgages, small business loans or car payments. Further,
the strong demand for our product reflects that our customers
see the fee model as appropriate, and the price of the fee
We welcome reasonable regulation that will benefit our customers
ability to be financially secure, and support the General
Assemblys efforts to regulate the industry while still
affording customers access to our service.
-- Ken Compton, chief executive officer, Advance America,
- 3/16: SC
on track to becoming nuclear chump, Leslie Minerd,
- 3/16: Everybody
loses with payday lending, Earl Capps, Summerville,
best way to get South Carolina news is to augment your morning
paper and TV show with SC Clips, a daily executive
news summary compiled from more than 30 state newspaper and
TV sources. It's delivered every business day and is packed
with news of statewide impact, politics, business and more.
Subscriptions are affordable at $30 per month -- and less
for business subscribers. More: SC
How you can subscribe to the full edition
of the report
The above version of S.C. Statehouse Report is the
free edition. Our paid version, which costs about $100 per
month, offer a weekly legislative forecast packed with information
that can keep you and your business on the cutting edge. There's
a new limited paid version for individuals that costs about
$30 per month. More on subscribing.
Notes veteran lawmaker Sen. Glenn McConnell: "Statehouse
Report gives an inside practical report of weekly problems
with and progress of legislation. It reviews the whole landscape."
In each issue of Statehouse Report, you'll get:
- Hot news
-- an early peek on something really big that will happen
at the Statehouse. We continually beat other news organizations
in finding major trends in issues, from teacher and budget
cuts to wetlands proposals.
- Agenda -- a weekly forecast of
the coming week's floor agenda
- Radar Screen -- a behind-the-scenes
look at what's really going on in the General Assembly
- Palmetto Politics
-- Tidbits from the world of South Carolina politics.
- McLemore's World -- an early view
of our respected cartoonist Bill McLemore.
- Tally Sheet -- a weekly review
of all of the new bills introduced in the legislature in
- Blogroll -- a weekly summary of
the best of South Carolina political blogs.
- Scorecard -- A Thumbs Up and Thumbs
Down of major political/policy events for the week.
- Calendar -- a weekly list of major
meetings for the House, Senate and state agencies.
- Megaphone -- a quote of the week
that you'll find illuminating.
To learn more about subscriptions, contact Andy Brack at:
South Carolina Statehouse Report
Publisher: Andy Brack
| Assistant Editor: Betsy
Phone: 843.670.3996 · Fax: 843.722.9887
Subscription or sponsorship Inquiries: email@example.com
Have an event for the SC Statehouse Report calendar?
E-mail details to: firstname.lastname@example.org
or fax to above number.