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South Carolina Republican Votes for Anti-Abortion Bill – Changes His Mind After Hearing a Heartbreaking True Story
representative Neal collins votes against abortion ban after hearing a heartbreaking story
Uplifting News

South Carolina Republican Votes for Anti-Abortion Bill – Changes His Mind After Hearing a Heartbreaking True Story

Neal Collins breaks down addressing real-life consequences following vote.

Martha Stewart once said that without an open-mind, you can never be a great success. That powerful life quote seems to apply to Representative Neal Collins’ career. After all, his open-mindedness led him to change his stance on a controversial topic.

Why Representative Neal Collins Had a Change of Heart

overhead view of lines of seats with tables before them
Photo by Joakim Honkasalo on Unsplash

Back in 2021, Collins supported the Fetal Heartbeat Law in South Carolina. Essentially, that law banned abortions when a heartbeat is detected. After hearing the story of a 19-year-old girl whose life was jeopardized because of the law, he decided to speak out against it.

He made his case during a State House committee hearing in August as members were contemplating proposed legislation that would outlaw most abortions in the state.

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According to Collins, he heard a story of a woman whose water had broken and was miscarrying in her second trimester. However, because of the law, lawyers for the hospital told the doctors they weren’t allowed to treat her.

“She's going to pass this fetus in the toilet,” he explained. “She's going to have to deal with that on her own. There's a 50 percent chance, greater than 50 percent chance, that she's going to lose her uterus,” he continued.

There's a 10 percent chance that she will develop sepsis and die. That weighs on me. I voted for that bill. These are affecting people. What we do matters.

Neal Collins

How the Internet Responded to Neal Collins’ Decision

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Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

During his speech, Collins teared up and revealed he didn’t sleep for a whole week after hearing the story. After a week, he called the doctor to follow up, and the doctor still hadn’t heard back from the patient.

“Thank God I followed up two weeks later,” he continued. “She did return to the ER. They did extract the now non-beating fetus. What we do matters. Out of respect for the process, I’m not voting today. But I wanted to be clear that myself and many others are not in a position to vote for this bill without significant changes to the bill.”

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After sharing his thoughts, Collins faced a ton of criticism online. Actor George Takei was one of those voices, sharing an article about the politician’s speech with the caption, “Oh, he just realized there are real-world consequences to his votes?”

Many quickly defended Collins and called out Takei for his narrow stance.

“To those jumping on @collins_neal please get some perspective,” tweeted Jay Parmley, executive director of the South Carolina Democratic Party. “Yes, he is a GOP legislator. If we want to protect abortion rights, we need GOP legislators who may have voted a certain way in the past to grow and evolve. For heaven's sake, he's open to change — don't denigrate him.”

In the end, Collins voted for the amended bill after he fought for what he perceived to be much-needed changes to the bill that allowed for necessary exceptions.

“I actually voted against the original bill. The original bill was a complete ban with no exceptions,” he later revealed to PBS News Hour.  “We voted that original bill down, and then we amended it to include both the rape and incest exceptions,” he continued.

“We specifically listed 12 to 14 different situations where the life of the mother would be protected. So, hopefully — and this was, I hope, made clear — hopefully, nothing like that would happen in South Carolina moving forward.”

How Neal Collins Proves the Importance of Being Open to Change

Brad starkey 5qfgbb4yuyk unsplash edited scaled
Photo by Brad Starkey on Unsplash

No matter your stance on the bill itself, Collins and his staunch determination to listen and learn is an example for all of us. Sometimes we grow the most when we try to see the other side of a situation and put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.

Whether that means actively listening to the other side of a heated debate, trying to bond with someone in your life whose personal choices you disagree with, or getting to know the circumstances that led to a particular situation before making up your mind, being open and willing to learn goes a long way in creating empathy and understanding.

After all, no one is perfect, and we are all works in progress. Accepting and being willing to grow alongside others can only make us better people.


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