This week, South Carolina state senator Larry Grooms introduced a bill similar to the one recently passed in Texas that would require any doctor performing an abortion in the state to have “admitting privileges at a local hospital.”
Five states have recently passed similar bills. Publicly, advocates claim that the purpose of such bills is to protect women’s health; in unguarded moments, some activists have admitted that these provisions are actually meant to force abortion clinics to close by pressuring hospitals to deny the required privileges to abortion doctors.
According to one pastor who claims to have had a hand in the drafting of Grooms’ bill, that is the goal of the proposed provision in South Carolina. At an event in September at his church – which it appears that Sen. Grooms was attending -- pastor Bobby Eubanks explained that he planned to “help” the senator write a bill imposing a number of abortion restrictions so that he could “introduce it under his name.”
“My plan is to regulate the industry not to end it,” he said, explaining that regulations such as waiting periods and mandatory sonograms raise costs and therefore make abortions less affordable for the “girls” who are seeking them. “How you get the costs to go up is you regulate it,” he said, telling the story of a woman he met who said she was barely able to scrape up $500 for an abortion.
He also touted the admitting privileges provision, claiming that abortion clinics won’t help women who experience complications: “The girl, if she’s down there and she starts bleeding when she comes out, she’s on her own.”
But he also made clear the real reason he was pushing the provision, saying, “not a hospital in South Carolina” would actually grant the required privileges.
Eubanks then announced that he would track down any legislator who opposed his bill and “stand in front of their church and say, ‘You have a member of your church who promotes killing babies.’”
We left a message with Sen. Grooms’ office asking if Eubanks did in fact have a hand in writing the bill, and will update this post if we hear back from them.
It appears that the two are at least occasional collaborators. On the day that Grooms filed his bill, he joined Eubanks and his fellow state senator Lee Bright – currently the top-polling primary challenger to Sen. Lindsey Graham – at a protest in front of a Charleston hospital that provides reproductive medicine training to its residents.
Eubanks has some other notable views about abortion and other issues. At an event in July also attended by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott and Sen. Bright, Eubanks declared that he would “be in jail” if Hillary Clinton became president, suggested that Clinton had Ambassador Chris Stevens killed in Benghazi “because he knew stuff he was trying to move up the ladder,” claimed that “abortion continues to be because people don’t want biracial children,” warned that marriage equality would lead to “Braveheart”-style government destruction of marriage, and explained that slavery was “not about racism” but instead was “an accepted way of economics throughout the world.” In fact, when it comes to slavery, he said, “the real fault lies with Africa for selling their people to slave traders.”