Amended fetal heartbeat bill headed to SC Senate floor

State - Regional

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — An amended version of the fetal heartbeat bill is headed to the South Carolina Senate floor.

The bill passed 9-8 in the Senate Medical Affairs Committee Thursday afternoon and could be debated on the Senate floor in a matter of weeks.

Last week, by a 3-2 vote, the Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee gave a favorable report to the bill (S.1).

The bill as it stands would not allow an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, unless the mother’s life is at risk. An amendment that would have made exceptions in cases of rape and incest did not pass.

If the legislation is signed into law, the physician conducting the abortion would be charged with a felony and could face jail time and fines.

According to data from DHEC, in 2019 more than 2,500 reported abortions occurred after the six week mark in South Carolina.

In 2019, the House passed a similar bill but it stalled in the Senate last year.

Ann Warner with the South Carolina Women’s Rights Empowerment Network said a bill like this would not stop abortions from happening in South Carolina. She said the World Health Organization has concluded that restricting access to abortions does not reduce the number of abortions.

During his State of the State address, Governor Henry McMaster said if the General Assembly sent him a fetal heartbeat bill he would sign it into law immediately.

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