VIDEO: Upstate lawmaker emotional over teen impacted by abortion ban he supported

Republican Representative Neal Collins, who represents District 5 in Pickens Co., shared an emotional account about Fetal Heartbeat Law's impact in the Upstate
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 1:32 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - An Upstate lawmaker became emotional during a committee hearing while discussing the impacts of the abortion ban he supported.

South Carolina’s ban on abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected went into effect on June 27. It was blocked on Wednesday by the South Carolina Supreme Court, which granted a temporary injunction while a legal battle over the act continues.

Supporters of the Fetal Heartbeat Act like Governor Henry McMaster say the ban is “to protect the lives of the most vulnerable among us.”

However, the CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, one of the groups challenging the constitutionality of the ban, said “patients have been forced to travel hundreds of miles for an abortion or suffer the life-altering consequences of forced pregnancy.”

Republican Representative Neal Collins, who represents District 5 in Pickens County, shared an emotional account about the law’s impact in the Upstate during a House Judiciary Committee meeting on Tuesday where lawmakers considered a new, near-total ban on abortions.

Collins, who voted in favor of the Fetal Heartbeat Act, said during its second week in effect he received a call from a doctor in Anderson about a 19-year-old woman who came into the emergency room.

He said the teen’s water broke 15 weeks into her pregnancy and the fetus was nonviable. Collins said attorneys told the doctor the fetus could not be extracted since a heartbeat could be detected.

The woman was discharged from the hospital, Collins said.

“First, she’s going to pass this fetus in the toilet,” Collins said the doctor told him. “She’s going to have to deal with that on her own.”

Collins said the teen faced a greater than 50 percent chance of losing her uterus and a 10 percent chance of dying from sepsis.

“That weighs on me,” Collins said. “I voted for that bill. These are affecting people and we’re having a meeting about this... That whole week I did not sleep.”

Collins said two weeks later, the woman returned to the emergency room when the fetal heartbeat had stopped to have it extracted.

“What we do matters,” said Collins tearfully.

Collins abstained from voting. Bill 5399 passed the committee with a 13 to 7 vote, advancing to the House floor.