South Carolina Senate Passes Bill Banning Most Abortions
COLUMBIA, SC (AP) – The South Carolina Senate on Thursday passed a bill banning nearly all abortions in the state, overcoming years of hurdles thanks to Republicans winning new seats in the election of the ‘last year.
The 30-13 vote is probably the last hurdle for the bill. It has been passed easily in the House in previous years and Gov. Henry McMaster has said on several occasions that he will sign it as soon as he can.
“If this is upheld by the courts, we will have saved thousands of lives in South Carolina each year. It’s a tremendous victory, ”said Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, a Republican from Edgefield.
The South Carolina Fetal Heart Rate and Abortion Protection Act requires doctors to use an ultrasound to try to detect a fetal heart rate if they think women are at least eight weeks pregnant. If they find a heartbeat and the pregnancy is not the result of rape or incest, they cannot perform the abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger.
Similar bills have been passed in a dozen other states, but are stuck in court. Abortion rights advocates and opponents are waiting to see if the U.S. Supreme Court weighs and rules that one of the toughest bans is constitutional, especially since former President Donald Trump was able to appoint three judges.
In the Bible Belt, South Carolina led the fight for stricter rules on abortions during the 1980s and 1990s. Current state law prohibits abortions after 20 weeks and was once a conservative model.
But in recent years, states from Alabama to Ohio have passed restrictions that ban nearly all abortions because most women don’t know they’re pregnant until about six weeks, when a fetal heartbeat can. be detected.
The way for the bill has cleared in South Carolina thanks in part to Trump. The divisive presidential race energized Republicans, who won three Democrats’ seats in the 2020 election and their new 30-16 advantage ultimately pushed the effort over a procedural hurdle that has stopped the bill for years.
“Thank God for the people of this state,” said Republican Senator Larry Grooms de Bonneau, who has been fighting to end abortion for 24 years and was its main sponsor.
“The people of South Carolina send us more and more pro-life senators every year. In this last election cycle, they sent us just enough, ”Grooms said.
The vote was almost entirely conducted according to party principles. Senator Sandy Senn of Charleston was the only Republican against, and Senator Kent Williams of Marion was the only Democrat to vote for the ban.
The bill now goes to the House, which, if it makes any changes – like removing the exceptions for rape and incest victims that some conservatives didn’t want in the proposal in the first place – will spark another fight. in the Senate. At least two Republican senators have said they cannot support the bill without these exceptions.
House Speaker Jay Lucas pointed out earlier this week that the House passed roughly the same Bill 70-31 in the last session. And one of the House’s top abortion opponents, Republican John McCravy of Greenwood, said he believes other House members realize the best way to pass the bill is to leave him alone.
“I am certainly not for the exceptions. But the reality is that they would probably be activated as they go, ”said McCravy.
The Senate labeled Bill 1 and made it the first major issue it addressed in the 2021 session.
Democrats said it was shameful because South Carolina had many more pressing issues, including more than 6,000 people who have died from COVID-19. He never expanded Medicaid, raised the minimum wage, and perpetually has an education system that ranks down the nation, said Democratic Senator Margie Bright Matthews of Walterboro.
“What have we done for the living,” she said.
Democratic Senator Mia McLeod told senators Republicans will not be the majority forever and will one day be ashamed of having taken away women’s rights to choice, liberty and liberty.
“Take advantage of this power and control while you have it,” the Colombian Democrat said. “It’s only politics for you, but it’s personal for millions of us”
Democrats resigned themselves to the numbers and decided not to erase the Senate for weeks so they could move on to other business. They said the state will waste money on a legal fight it stands to lose, and other states are way ahead.
“He goes into this legal limbo of years and years and years where he’s waiting on a register somewhere to be heard.” Except that this case will never be heard because there are 30 other pending cases across the country which raise somewhat or very similar questions, ”said Senate Minority Leader Brad Hutto, a Democrat from Orangeburg.
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