The 120th legislative session of the South Carolina General Assembly will open in January, 2013
Tell Them advocates sent more than 20,000 messages to lawmakers during the119th legisaltive session, urging elected officials to protect reproductive rights in South Carolina.
Among their successful campaigns was rallying reproductive health advocates from across the state to oppose H. 3408, the ‘Health Care Freedom of Conscience Act,” a bill with far-reaching consequences for all South Carolinians. The “Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Act” (H.3408) attempted to undermine a person’s right to make decisions about their own health and the health of their families. If passed, it would have allowed health care professionals and institutions to use their personal ideology as a reason to deny patients information and services, jeopardizing access to birth control, in-vitro fertilization (IVF), and emergency contraception for rape or incest victims.
Tell Them successfully organized a targeted email and letter-writing campaign, sending more than 8,000 messages to lawmakers, urging them to vote against this potentially harmful bill. Advocates also filled committee hearings and testified before the Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee, bringing the personal face of those who would have been victimized by this repressive bill.
During the last three legislative sessions, 41 ideologically motivated bills related to women’s reproductive health were introduced in the General Assembly. South Carolina is one of many states fighting restrictive healthcare policies. Currently, 13 states allow some health care providers to refuse to provide services related to contraception; 18 states allow some health care providers to refuse to provide sterilization services; and a recent ballot initiative in Mississippi sought to ban many forms of birth control and assisted reproduction like in-vitro fertilization.
The Tell Them network’s other successful efforts included helping to maintain funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), preserving coverage of services for victims of rape and incest, and neutralizing the Provider Liability Burden (aka the Born Alive Bill) by removing potentially costly restrictions on hospitals and doctors.