GRAND STRAND, S.C. (WBTW) — Local advocacy groups on both sides of the abortion debate are reacting to the abortion bill making its way through the statehouse.

The Republican-controlled house passed a bill that would shorten the time frame for most legal abortions by four months.

Lawmakers in Columbia, South Carolina, spent more than 24 hours on the bill, which includes exceptions for rape, incest, the life of the mother and fetal abnormalities.

“To be honest with you, I didn’t know I’d ever see this happening,” said Terry Borkes, the president of Grand Strand Citizens for Life. “The other side has been very strong and very vocal.”

“Unless you’re trying to have a baby, you likely do not know you’re pregnant until past six weeks,” said Ashlyn Preaux, the Executive Director of Palmetto State Abortion Fund.

Polling from earlier this year by the South Carolina Policy Council found that 52% of likely South Carolina voters believe abortions should be legal only under certain circumstances.

34% thought it should be legal under any circumstance, while 14% supported a total ban.

“It’s not just Democrats who get abortions. We fund them for everybody,” Preaux said. “Everybody needs healthcare.”

“Health care for a woman doesn’t involve killing her child,” Borkes said.

Current South Carolina abortion laws are some of the least restrictive in the South. Right now, women have up to 22 weeks for an abortion. An approval of the 6-week ban would mean abortion restrictions in 21 states, with a southern bloc from Texas East to the Atlantic.

“I think in God’s time, we’ll see the end of the abortion in the world. I may not see it. You may not see it, but I believe it’s going to happen,” Borkes said.

“My grandma who passed away in 2010 had more rights to her body than I currently have now and my kids will hopefully not have to go through it for the rest of their lives,” Preaux said. “We’re fighting this fight we already fought and that gets discouraging for people.”

News13’s Manny Martinez spoke with a Pee Dee political science professor Thursday, who told him that he believes abortion is an issue that could galvanize voters in 2024.

But in South Carolina, there is a deep divide. The professor thinks both sides would see a boost. Democrat support focused in the lowcountry while are the Grand Strand and Pee Dee are conservative strongholds.

News13 will stay on top of this legislation as it moves along.

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Manny Martinez is the weekend evening anchor and a reporter at News13. Manny is from Chicago. He graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in broadcast journalism. Follow Manny on Twitter and read more of his work here.

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