Coffee with @leebright: The Personhood Act of South Carolina.

At first glance, you probably wouldn’t guess that Lee Bright has sponsored more pro-life legislation than any other lawmaker in the country. He is the epitome of a southern businessman: Dark brown hair cut short over dark eyes, perpetual half-grin on his face; a robust presence, to be sure, frame draped in a classic two-button suit dappled dark by the rain outside the coffee shop where we have arranged to meet. Hands shake and names are exchanged.

We manage to grab a table — a veritable miracle on such a busy day. The weather is driving people indoors. Coffee sits steaming between me and the challenger: In just 90 short days, on June 10th, Bright will attempt to dethrone Lindsey Graham, the incumbent Senator from South Carolina.

Bright came to my attention several months ago, when a sign outside of my workplace asked “Who is Lee Bright?” I don’t know if the Ayn Rand reference was intentional or not, but it caught my eye and I asked Google the same question. When I found the answer, I was thrilled. As a pro-life activist myself, the State Senator from Greenville is a political dream come true. Today, I wanted to know more about Bright’s Personhood Act of South Carolina.

“I’ve been working on the Personhood Act for about 5 years now,” says Bright. In Roe v. Wade, the oral arguments in the Supreme Court did not define where life began, and simply guaranteed women a right to privacy. The Personhood Act codifies empirical fact: Life begins at conception. This would be groundbreaking legislation if it gets passed, preventing South Carolina from seeing another horrific year of 7,000 abortions. Since the Supreme Court did not decide that anyone has a specific right to an abortion, merely a right to privacy, it would be interesting to see someone challenge the constitutionality of this bill.

However Bright says he does anticipate just that: Given recent comments made by Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, who stated that when life begins is “not really relevant to the conversation [about abortion],” Bright expects that abortion advocates will challenge the law with the argument that a woman does indeed have a right to an abortion. It is difficult to anticipate how courts will rule, but due to the wording of legal precedents, Bright is hopeful. Of course (allegedly pro-life) Lindsey Graham’s votes in favor of pro-abortion judges like Elena Kagan further complicates speculation.

Another objection Bright has seen is the claim that the Personhood Act would stand between a woman and her birth control. Two points should be made here: The first is that only abortifacient birth control would be eliminated. The morning after pill would be made illegal in South Carolina. The second point — and this is my commentary, here — is that of course methods of birth control that cause an abortion ought to be eliminated if life begins at conception. This critique is nothing more than a red herring designed to distract from the real question of the bill — does life begin at conception or not? After all, since the bill is about when life begins, to oppose it on any other grounds is an adventure in missing the point.

“So what can I do to help? Where is the bill now and how can we get it moving forward?” Bright explained that the bill is currently in a subcommittee chaired by Senator Chip Campsen, from Charleston County. The best way to help right now is to call the Senators on that subcommittee (listed below) and tell them why you’re passionate about the Personhood Act. Also, call your Senator and explain to them why you’d like them to support the bill.

With all this exciting news at home, I asked Lee how he would take the fight to Washington if he got elected. He told me that he plans on working against abortion in two ways: First, by only supporting constitutionally sound judges. Bright explained that he would have fought against appointing Elena Kagan rather than capitulating as Lindsey Graham did. Second, Bright plans on supporting or sponsoring Personhood legislation at the Federal level. He mentioned the Personhood Act introduced by Ron Paul as an example of the kinds of laws he would support.

Having seen Senator Bright’s voting record compared to Lindsey Graham’s, I’m ready to send some new blood to Washington. The best way to do that is by going to vote in the June 10th primary. You can also donate to Lee Bright’s campaign here, or volunteer to help here. And again, be sure to call your Senator, and the Senators on the subcommittee listed below, and tell them why you support the Personhood Act of South Carolina!

Judiciary Subcommittee:
Sen. Chip Campsen, Chairman — (803) 212-6340
Sen. Karl Allen — (803) 212-6040
Sen. Chauncey Gregory — (803) 212-6024
Sen. Bradley Hutto — (803) 212-6140
Sen. Greg Hembree — (803) 212-6016
Find your Senator here.

For more information about Lee Bright and his campaign for U.S. Senate, check out http://www.brightforsenate.com

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