The GOP tried, and failed, four times, to get their bill through but, after three days of debate, and facing a Democratic filibuster with no end in sight, South Carolina Senate Republicans gave in and shelved a bill that would have outlawed virtually all abortions in the state.
The bill made exceptions only for cases of rape, incest or serious medical emergencies but would have outlawed 97% of abortions in South Carolina.
The Senate's 24-21 vote to banish the bill back to a committee—effectively killing it for the year—was surprising after both parties dug in their heels over the proposed ban. Senate Republicans had taken the rare step of scheduling the Senate—which works Tuesdays through Thursdays—to remain in Columbia and continue debate, past Friday and into the weekend, if necessary. Senate Republicans had hoped to extend the debate until several Democrats gave up and left the chamber, gifting the GOP the three-fifths majority needed to shut down the filibuster and pass the abortion.
But no Democrats left; some even canceled travel and vacation plans to remain in Columbia keeping al forty-five senators present for a 1AM vote on Friday. Democrats, meanwhile, lined up one senator after another to filibuster the bill, starting with Senator Marlon Kimpson's eight-hour monologue on Thursday.
State Senator, Gerald Malloy, a Democrat, was set to leave Columbia Thursday for the Kentucky Derby, but said his wife and children told him to stay and join the filibuster:
"It was more important to her and the women in this state that I stay."
And, seeing the Democrats uniting as one, and rallying to protect a woman’s right to choose her own health care options, and make her own choices, Republican state Seanator, Luke Rankin, voted to end debate on the bill; with just three legislative days left, he felt a prolonged filibuster would have prevented other important bills, such as those addressing South Carolina's nuclear fiasco, from passing:
"They were here en masse with no defection."
Proof that when Democrats, even those in public office, show up to vote, things can change and the rightwingnut conservative agenda will not stand.
It was a good day in South Carolina, and it turned a little, a little, more blue.