It’s time to refocus abortion debate

Cory Manning
S.C. Coalition for Healthy Families

On June 16, the Legislature passed the so-called 24-hour waiting period bill. Previous versions of the bill required women to make two trips to an abortion provider: one to get the materials and one to have the procedure. The bill that was finally passed allows women to review the materials on-line, eliminating the two-trip requirement. This was a victory for S.C. women and others concerned about reproductive rights.

Unfortunately, this was yet another example of the misguided discussion regarding abortion.

The participants in the abortion debate often seek legislative endorsement of moral positions that leave little room for compromise. Instead of seeking to score points or curry favor with constituent groups, they should focus on addressing the problem: unintended or unwanted pregnancies.

Both sides of this debate, if they are being realistic and want solutions, would support measures that reduce unintended or unwanted pregnancies. For example, educating teenagers with age-appropriate information about sexual activity, including contraception and abstinence, and supporting low-income women in economically rational ways that give them real choices regarding the decision to have a child will reduce the number of unintended and unwanted pregnancies (and hence the number of abortions) in South Carolina. If both sides focused on this common ground, we could see genuine improvement in the quality of life for women, children and all citizens of South Carolina.

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