June 26, 2015
ACLU Statement on Marriage Equality Win
"Today's decision has been 50 years in the making and will stand with Brown vs. Board of Education as one of the landmark civil rights moments of our time," said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director. "Now we take the battle for full legal equality to the states, where 31 states have yet to pass any statewide LGBT non-discrimination laws. The wind is at our backs, and we are now on the cusp of achieving full legal equality for LGBT Americans across the country."
June 18, 2015
The ACLU of South Carolina expresses its profound condolences to the victims' families in the wake of this senseless tragedy. Events like this are further evidence that we need to be fighting for racial equality in our daily lives. This attack against Black people in an institution that has such historical and cultural importance detracts from years of healing undertaken by our communities. Senator Clementa Pinckney stood for civil liberties, and we mourn his loss with the other victims.
2015 Legislative Wrap-Up
Recently, the first half of the 2015-2016 session of the South Carolina legislature came to an end. The ACLU of SC worked tirelessly on bills that would impact police accountability, reproductive freedom, voting rights, and equality in South Carolina, to name a few.
With your help, we ensured that some of the worst threats to our liberties did not succeed:
Some vital measures were successful:
Right now, we're still fighting an extreme bill that would criminalize abortion after 20 weeks, regardless of circumstances like rape, incest, threat to a woman's health, or fetal anomalies. A House and Senate conference committee will meet in the coming days on this extreme measure.
We'll be back at the Statehouse in January 2016 to resume the fight for the rights of juveniles in the justice system; to reduce over-incarceration of non-violent offenders and the indigent; to expand voting rights; to end profiling and advance equality; and to protect women's reproductive rights.
On May 1, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the Body-Worn Camera Pilot Partnership Program. The $20 million program which is part of President Obama’s proposal to invest $75 million over three years, will cover the cost of 50,000 body-worn cameras for officers across the nation. Grants will be awarded to agencies that meet the requirements, and South Carolina will be able to apply for funding.
Former North Charleston officer Michael Slager also wasn't wearing one when he pulled over and subsequently shot Walter Scott.
The ACLU maintains that good policies are crucial. We need to determine what may be wrong with police training and what must be done with record keeping to both protect privacy and increase public trust in law enforcement.
On Thursday, April 30, in an attempt to restore trust in law enforcement after the fatal shooting of Walter Scott by a North Charleston police officer, a state Senate panel affirmed the right to record police activity in public and called for independent investigations of police shootings.
The deaths of Walter Scott, Eric Garner and Michael Brown are part of an alarming trend of officers using excessive force against people of color, often during routine encounters.
The ACLU will continue to fight for racial justice. To build trust, we must have a democratic system where our communities have an equal say in the way their neighborhoods are policed. Collaboration, transparency, and communication between police and communities around the shared goals of equality, fairness, and public safety pave the path forward.
The 20-week abortion ban measure goes to the Senate floor this week (April 28-30). This bill, as approved by the Senate Medical Affairs Committee, will ban abortions after a woman is 20 weeks pregnant, with exceptions for rape, incest, the life of the mother and severe fetal anomalies.
“Look at us. We’re a bunch of men voting on what a woman would have to do with her own life,” Sen. Joel Lourie, a Columbia Democrat and an opponent of the bill, told the panel. “We’re a bunch of men sitting up here trying to tell a woman whether it’s right or not to terminate a pregnancy at 20 versus 24 weeks. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves that we’re going to impose our own value system and interfere with the relationship between a woman, her physician, her spiritual adviser and her family.”
Abortion is currently legal in South Carolina in the first two trimesters, or 24 weeks, of pregnancy. In the last trimester, it is only permitted to save the life or health of the mother.
Imposing one rule on every woman, regardless of the circumstances of her pregnancy, is extremely callous. A woman shouldn't be denied basic health care or the ability to make the best decision for her circumstances because some politicians disagree with her.