The legislative chamber initially rejected the bill which was a near-total abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest, in a vote of 47–55.
After the exceptions were added by Republicans to save the bill, the final vote to approve the measure was 67–38.
The bill has one more routine vote before it proceeds to the state’s Senate. Republicans control both the state House and Senate, but they are a few seats short of a two-thirds majority.
The proposed legislation allows abortions up to 12 weeks after conception if a woman informs the doctor that the pregnancy was a result of rape, or incest. The doctor must report the rape or incest to the county sheriff, and has 24 hours to provide the woman’s name and contact information to deputies.
Otherwise, the bill creates a felony for anyone who “performs or abets an abortion,” or who “uses force or the threat of force to injure or intimidate a person for the purpose of coercing an abortion.”
The exceptions are when the abortion is being carried out to prevent the death, substantial risk of death, or substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the mother. Any doctor who carries out such abortions “must declare in a written document that the medical procedure was necessary.”
The bill also clarifies that a pregnant woman may not be criminally prosecuted.
Republican Gov. Henry McMaster hasn’t issued a public statement over the specific legislation, but had said in a statement in January 2020: “South Carolina is a proudly pro-life state, and any pro-life legislation that makes it to my desk will be signed immediately.” He also said in January 2018: “I believe that human life begins at conception.”
“This is a good starting point for the Senate to begin its deliberations,” Brian Symmes, McMaster’s spokesperson, said on Tuesday.
A six-week abortion ban was signed into law by McMaster in February 2021 but was blocked from being enforced soon after by an Obama-appointed federal judge. The ban went into effect after Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24. But on Aug. 17, the South Carolina Supreme Court temporarily blocked the measure.
For now, abortions after 20 weeks of conception are banned allowed in the state due to a 2016 law. The exceptions include when the procedure is deemed necessary to protect the life of a pregnant woman, or if there is a “fetal anomaly.”
From The Epoch Times