Sen. Luke Rankin’s pro-abortion record

Senator Luke Rankin is the #1 opponent of unborn babies’ right to life in the Senate. Not only has he consistently failed to support pro-life legislation, he has also opposed the defunding of Planned Parenthood in the state budget. As the Senate Judiciary Chairman, he is also singlehandedly responsible for killing the personhood bill – legislation acknowledging that life begins at conception.

A) Rankin voted with Democrats who filibustered the dismemberment bill

Background: H.3548 of 2017 (a bill outlawing dismembership abortion in most cases) made it to the Senate floor over a year after being filed. The Democrats responded by filibustering (using endless debate to block a bill from being voted on). 

Republicans attempted four separate “cloture” votes in an attempt to end the filibuster and bring the bill up for a vote. On the fourth cloture vote, Rankin was one of only two Republicans to side with the Democrats to continue the filibuster instead of voting to protect life by bringing the bill to a vote. Worse, he then voted with Democrats again to send the bill back to committee, effectively killing it. 

B) Rankin voted for abortion funding in the state budget

Background: Three separate provisions in the state budget currently fund abortions using taxpayer dollars: 

  • Proviso 108.4 – funds abortions under the state employee’s health plan in cases of rape and incest.
  • Proviso 33.12 – funds certain abortions under the Hyde amendment through Medicaid.
  • Proviso 33.25 – allows state family planning funds to go to Planned Parenthood. 

Rankin voted for all three provisions in the 2019-2020 budget (see here and here), as well as for the entire budget – complete with abortion and Planned Parenthood funding. 

C) Rankin opposes personhood legislation, which recognizes life as beginning at conception 

Background: All pro-life legislation goes through the Senate Judiciary Committee. As the Judiciary chairman, Rankin controls which bills receive a hearing and which ones never see the light of day – and he used that power to kill the personhood bill in the 2017-2018 legislative session. 

S.217 was filed at the beginning of session in January 2017, but Rankin waited months to assign it to a subcommittee – and when he finally did, he appointed an outspoken pro-abortion Democrat to chair the subcommittee. Rankin didn’t schedule the bill for a full committee hearing until May 2, shortly before the end of session – but then he “carried over” (delayed) the bill until the following January. 

In February 2018, a pro-life senator moved to recall the bill from Rankin’s committee and bring it straight to the Senate floor. Not only did Rankin vocally oppose that motion, he voted with Democrats (and liberal Republicans) to block the personhood bill from getting a floor debate and vote. 

Later that month, the bill finally got a full committee hearing and a vote. Despite Rankin voting to kill the personhood bill twice, it finally passed the third vote – with Rankin switching to vote for the bill once he realized it was going to pass anyway. 

By the time the bill finally got a vote on the Senate floor, session was nearly over and there was no time for the House to vote on it that year. Rankin had killed the personhood bill.

About Talbert Black

Talbert Black Jr is the founder of Palmetto Liberty PAC. His education in state politics & citizen lobbying began in 1999 with his membership in GrassRoots GunRights SC. In 2008 he joined the Campaign for Liberty and within a year he was the Interim State Coordinator for South Carolina. His goal for Palmetto Liberty PAC is to change to composition of South Carolina’s General Assembly so that it consistently supports conservative principles.

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