A debate between Republican South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace and Democratic challenger Dr. Annie Andrews quickly got heated when Andrews accused Mace of supporting a bill to ban abortion without exceptions for rape or incest, only for Mace to immediately call her out for what she said was a “flat-out lie.”
Andrews was responding to a question about whether she is in favor of any restrictions on abortion. She said she supports the “mainstream opinion” that women need the availability of abortion until the point of fetal viability, contrasting herself with Mace, who she said supported a six-week ban and co-sponsored “a fetal personhood bill that would ban abortion nationwide with no exceptions for rape or incest.”
Mace, who is herself a rape survivor and a proponent of exceptions for rape and incest, was quick to reject Andrews’s claim that she supports a ban without exceptions.
“By and large, most of what my opponent says about abortion and my position is a flat out lie,” Mace said. “I mean, she just said that I supported and signed onto a bill that would ban all abortions without exceptions. That’s a complete and utter lie. The word ‘abortion’ isn’t even in that bill.”
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Mace then turned to Andrews and challenged her directly over her claim.
“I want to stand here today, Annie Andrews, and have you look at me in the eye, look at me in the face and tell me as a woman who’s a victim of rape that I don’t care about women who have been raped,” Mace said. “It’s a flat-out lie.”
Mace was then asked if she would vote against a bill that did not have exceptions for rape, incest, or if the life of the mother was in danger. She said not only would she oppose such a bill, she would also add an exception for fetal abnormalities.
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“I have not ever voted or sponsored a bill that would ban abortion without exceptions, that’s just simply not the case at all,” Mace said. “And I would not.”
Responding to Mace, Andrews accused her of trying to mislead people by making it seem like the fetal personhood bill has nothing to do with abortion.
“How stupid do you think women in this district are?” she asked. “Your name is on a life at conception bill. I am a doctor, I understand.”
“I’m sure you can read an X-ray, but you don’t know how to read a bill,” Mace retorted. “You should be able to read and understand, it’s literally part of the job.”
Andrews then pressed Mace by asking what the bill is for if not for abortion. Mace said it is “expressing that life begins at conception, a value that many and the vast majority of Americans agree with.” She also claimed that the bill is now “irrelevant” due to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
The bill in question, the Life at Conception Act, calls for “equal protection for the right to life of each born and preborn human person,” and says that “the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being” from the moment of fertilization. It does not specifically address abortion, but it does make clear that it does not “authorize the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child.”
South Carolina’s Supreme Court hear oral arguments on Wednesday in a legal challenge to a newly passed bill that bans abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected, which typically occurs at around six weeks. That bill has exceptions for rape, incest, and to save the life of the woman.
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