As the 124th South Carolina General Assembly convened on January 12, 2021, legislators’ priorities should have been clear. COVID-19 had made it harder to ignore our failures as a society. For example:
- Workers are forced to choose between their health and a paycheck;
- Children who lack internet access at home do not receive an equal education;
- People are forced to navigate a global health pandemic without health insurance; and
- Incarcerated people are locked in crowded facilities where social distancing is impossible.
But, instead of addressing these and the countless other pressing issues facing South Carolina, our lawmakers decided to begin the session with an all-out attack on the fundamental right to an abortion.
Attacks on our basic rights continued throughout the session, including legislation to:
- Allow religious groups to discriminate;
- Harm transgender youth;
- Restart South Carolina’s machinery of death; and
- Further restrict access to the ballot.
Fortunately, the news wasn’t all bad. Our work to eliminate inhumane and counterproductive criminal punishments continues to make progress, and we, along with our amazing coalition partners, were able to stop many of the harmful bills filed this session, including attacks on LGBTQ people, attempts to roll back voting rights, and efforts to use religion to discriminate.
Want to learn more about our work to protect our basic rights and liberties at the legislature? Click here to read a summary of the legislation that the ACLU of South Carolina engaged on during this session.