A South Carolina representative who refused to abort her daughter at age 16 gave a passionate speech Wednesday on the state House floor about ending abortions in her state.
Surrounded by other pro-life female lawmakers, state Rep. Melissa Oremus, R-Aiken, called out the “mistruths” that women need to abort their own children to succeed.
“The voiceless that you’re talking about, be a village for those women. Don’t make them make the worst decision of their life that they are never going to forget,” Oremus said.
The pro-life lawmaker spoke after about 25 hours of debate about the state heartbeat bill, and her words left Democrats in “stunned silence,” according to a Twitter post by Greg Price of the State Freedom Caucus Network.
The House passed the pro-life bill Wednesday to protect unborn babies from abortion once their heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. The vote was 82-33 with two Democrats joining Republicans in voting in favor. Pro-life advocates estimate the bill could save more than 200 unborn babies from abortion every month.
Speaking before the vote, Oremus said abortion supporters imply that women need abortions because they are not capable of having children in difficult circumstances. She said she understands very well how difficult an unplanned pregnancy can be: She was only 16 when she became pregnant and had her daughter.
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WATCH: After 25 hours of debate on the Heartbeat Bill, Rep. @MelissaOremus of the @SCFreedomCaucus left every Democrat in the South Carolina House of Reps in a stunned silence after giving an impassioned speech for life, talking about how she has a baby at 16 and resisted… pic.twitter.com/vvrQPkXmYr
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) May 18, 2023
Going to school and later working full-time as a young, single mother was “way hard,” and her dating life was “horrible,” Oremus said.
“But it didn’t matter,” she said. “… I saw her little face, it made me work 10 times harder.”
Oremus said her parents taught her right from wrong, and she knew it was wrong to kill her unborn child.
Fervently, she continued: “If something’s alive and it’s growing and it stops, it’s dead now. If it has a heartbeat one minute and it doesn’t no longer, it is now dead. So what do you call that? What do you call that when a 23 week baby is going through an abortion and you can see it on the screen as you’re sucking his parts out and he’s trying to get away from that instrument? What do you call that? Justification for the mother who didn’t want that baby?
“I was 16. I didn’t want a baby,” she said. But “I know that murder is murder.”
Today, Oremus said she wears the pro-life label as a badge of honor. She said she fights to protect unborn babies from abortion because she knows and South Carolinans know it is the right thing to do.
To pro-abortion lawmakers, she challenged them to consider their words carefully: “You can call it what you want. I’ve heard you call it a chemical fluttering, I’ve heard you call it a glob of tissue. I’ve heard you call it a fetus. But not one of you women who stood up here or men said, ‘My baby, my baby.’”
Through tears, Oremus thanked the pro-life women lawmakers who stood behind her on the House floor to support her call to protect the unborn.
“It really saddens me that we are not all in the same place here. … But we fight for the unborn because they don’t have a voice. They are yet to have a voice, but they are very much alive,” she said. “It is a win today for all the babies that are yet to be born. They’re going to thank you.”
The heartbeat bill now moves to the South Carolina Senate where it is expected to pass. Gov. Henry McMaster also supports the bill.
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