Christian constituents call out Republican senators for failing abortion bill

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - From the church pulpit to a podium inside the South Carolina's state capitol, pastors called-out Republican senators for failing to stop abortions this year. Abortion ban bills were defeated by Democrats and Pro-Choice lobbyists and advocates…and pastors blame a few Republicans for that, too.

Christian constituents told WIS-TV they feel used by Republican senators, and they want them to be replaced.

"We're getting pretty frustrated. I think these groups are getting very frustrated, but as a Christian, we're not supposed to be casting stones at folks. We should be lifting them up," Alan Ray said.

"It's individual responsibility," Sarah Pawlikowski said. "If you cannot stand up and say, 'I did this' versus 'I did not do this,' then each one of us is the problem."

Ministers who spoke represented The South Carolina Pastors Alliance. They called-out several senators by name: Hugh Leatherman, Luke Rankin, Chip Campsen, Paul Campbell, Shane Massey, and Sandy Senn, arguing these Republicans didn't do enough to pass a bill banning abortion.

Sen. Shane Massey (R- Edgefield), the Majority Leader, responded saying: "Senate Republicans remain committed to representing those who least have a voice. We fought for several days and nights to pass the strongest pro-life legislation in the country. We gave it our best shot but unfortunately were unsuccessful in seeing the bill become law this year. I and others in the Senate will continue to do all we can to protect the lives of the unborn at any opportunity."

The bill for 'Personhood' would have defined a life as that which begins at conception; that would have made abortion illegal. However, that bill failed. Another bill to ban certain types of abortions, dilation, and evacuation, morphed into a measure to ban nearly all abortions in South Carolina.

Democrats filibustered to successfully kill the bill, in the end. There weren't enough Republican votes to end the filibuster and vote to likely pass the bill. Those Republicans who did not vote to invoke cloture were Hugh Leatherman, Luke Rankin, and Sandy Senn.

"I felt the bill, which was designed to challenge Roe v. Wade, would cost our taxpayers dearly to wage a legal battle that we would lose," Sen. Sandy Senn (R- Charleston) said. "In this instance, and since we were poised to turn a law existing since the mid-70s on its head and then buying ourselves an expensive trip to the Supreme Court, I felt that the minority deserved to be heard more than just a few hours."

Pro-Choice women had packed the State House to protest the abortion ban throughout the week.

"We obviously felt like it was a victory for the women in South Carolina," Ashley Lidow with the Women's Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN) said.  "When it was crunch time and it was time for the women to really defend their rights, they came out in full force because they truly are always watching."

Sen. Katrina Shealy (R- Lexington) took to Facebook in frustration, saying: "Where were all those Pro-Life supporters in the balcony cheering us on? There sure was a lot of support for the other team which gave them the drive to stand for hours on end."

However, some felt that asking for others to push elected officials in the desired direction was unreasonable.

"You don't need cheerleading to do what is right," Pastor Mike Gonzalez said. "You need courage. And they don't have any courage,"

Ministers said they worked behind the scenes texting and emailing, but were largely ignored.

Copyright 2018 WIS. All rights reserved.