3 ‘Sister Senators’ Defeated By Republican Men In State’s Primaries

(ConservativeSense.com) – Three Republican state senators who joined forces across the aisle to challenge strict abortion restriction legislation lost their primary elections in the process, each to a male opponent.

Five South Carolina senators, who dubbed themselves the “Sister Senators,” received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award from the JFK Foundation last year in September for combining their efforts across party lines to stop the South Carolina legislature from passing heavy restrictions on abortion that would nearly ban the practice completely. The “Sister Senators” are Margie Bright Matthews, Katrina Frye Shealy, Sandra Jane “Sandy” Senn, Mia S. McLeod, and Penry S. Gustafson.

Of the five women, Matthews is a Democrat, McLeod an independent, and Shealy, Senn, and Gustafson are Republicans who risked their election victories to stop the ban, diverging from the majority of their party.

When Shealy won her seat in 2012, she was the only woman in the chamber. On Tuesday, June 25, she lost her primary election against Charlistle Kennedy, 37.5% to 62.5%. Before that, on June 11, Gustafson lost to Allen Blackmon, who gained 82% of the vote running on an anti-abortion platform. The same day, Senn lost to Matt Leber by only 30 votes; Leber, who served in the South Carolina House, voted to support the state’s “Heartbeat Bill” last year restricting abortion.

Although voter turnout for the primaries was reportedly low, the defeat of these three candidates demonstrates that the GOP in South Carolina and its voters still very much lean toward heavy restrictions on abortions after the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The five senators painted their losses as a general defeat for all women. Gustafson claimed it demonstrates that what women “have to say about giving birth” and related issues “is secondary” to what men in the GOP want.

Shealy said she wasn’t “upset” about her loss, but merely “curious” about how men will get the job done regarding how abortion should be regulated.

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