The Women Blocking South Carolina’s Near-Total Abortion Ban

When the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer, advocates on either side presumed that the country would divide along the bright color lines: red states completely banning abortion, blue states protecting it.

That prediction failed to anticipate the Sister Senators.

The Sisters, as they call themselves, are the women in the South Carolina State Senate — the only women, three Republicans, one Independent and one Democrat, in a legislature that ranks 47th among states in the proportion of women. As a block, they are refusing to allow the legislature to pass a near-total ban on abortion, despite a Republican supermajority.

Three times in eight months, Republican leaders in the chamber have tried to ban abortion beginning at conception. Three times, the women have resisted, even as fellow Republicans have threatened primary challenges and anti-abortion activists have paraded empty strollers and groups of children heckling the women as “baby killers.”


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This article was written by Kate Zernike and originally published on