Fetal heartbeat bill could be up for early debate in 2020 session

State - Regional

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- Abortion is a hot topic across the country and in South Carolina, there have been several attempts to ban abortions in the state.

Earlier this year, a strict abortion ban was proposed and passed in one body of the General Assembly and now the other legislative body is hoping to do the same.

In the 2019 session, members of the House passed the fetal heartbeat bill, leaving it in the hands of the Senate.

“The House passed a bill that would ban abortion at 6 weeks, which is before most women even know they’re pregnant,” said Vicki Ringer with Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.

Many expected the bill wouldn’t be discussed until lawmakers returned to the State House in January, but the bill is now being fast tracked.

Dr. Matthew Clark, the director of Personhood SC, explained how organizations like Personhood SC have been pushing for prolife legislation.

“We think it’s taken far too long to stop the violence against our neighbors in the womb in South Carolina.”

The fetal heartbeat bill was passed in the House with a 64-22 vote and amendments for exceptions to incest and rape.

The bill was then referred to the Senate Medical Affairs Committee, which has now called a meeting to start the process on the bill.

Dr. Clark continued, “It seems to us if there is a way for our leaders to stop the unjustified deaths of 13 of their citizens under their care a day then you really can’t act too quickly.”

Those opposed to the proposal are concerned the meeting time will interfere with having thorough public input.

“It catches people when they’re unaware, it doesn’t give people a chance to appear. It’s during the weekday when people are at work and not show up.”

If the bill makes it out of the committee before lawmakers return to the State House in January, it will need three successful votes from the full Senate body to make it to the governor’s desk.

The meeting is scheduled for September 10 and will allow for public comment.

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