COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – Wednesday evening, the South Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill that would ban most abortions in the state after about six weeks into a pregnancy.
The 82 to 33 vote (mostly along party lines) comes after two days of debate on the legislation on the House floor. House Democrats had proposed hundreds of amendments, but dozens of those amendments were tossed out or voted down by House Republicans.
Rep. Heather Bauer (D-Richland) said, “So many of you talk about freedom. Freedom from government…freedom to carry guns…freedom for everything, unless you’re a woman. It’s very telling that the limit on freedom in the House of Representatives is women’s rights.”
The legislation would ban most abortions about six weeks into a pregnancy, critics argue most women don’t know they’re pregnant at that time. There are limited exceptions for rape or incest and exceptions for fatal fetal anomalies or the life of the mother.
Rep. John McCravy (R-Greenwood) said, “Let’s not pretend abortion is healthcare. In the rare case outlined in this bill where the mother’s life is in danger, it is healthcare. But that’s less than 1% of abortions. The other 99% what are they for?”
S.474 is modeled after the Fetal Heartbeat Act that was struck down by the state Supreme Court in January. Supporters of the legislation said changes were made to ensure the bill would withstand a legal challenge. Currently, abortions are allowed up to 22 weeks into pregnancy in South Carolina.
After a third reading vote Wednesday night, the legislation will be sent back to the Senate. Since it is different from the version they passed in February, Senators would need to either agree to changes or send the bill to a conference committee.
This is a developing story.