COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — Tuesday, a panel of House members advanced a bill that would ban most abortions about six weeks into a pregnancy in South Carolina.
S.474 was passed by the Senate in February. It is similar to the ‘Fetal Heartbeat Act’ that was struck down by the state Supreme Court in January.
The House’s bill, a near-total abortion ban with limited exceptions, stalled on the Senate floor a few weeks ago.
With three days left in the legislative session, a House Judiciary subcommittee took up the Senate’s fetal heartbeat bill. They listened to some testimony from supporters and critics of the bill before advancing it.
Dr. Sharai Amaya, an OB/GYN from Greenwood, said, “I know beyond any reasonable doubt that a human fetus is a living human being. It has often been my experience to witness a woman begin to cry when she sees the baby’s heartbeat for the first time.”
The subcommittee also heard from Jill Hartle. Hartle said last year she had to go out of state for a fetal anomaly abortion. She said the state’s fetal heartbeat act prevented her from getting the care she needed.
Hartle said, “The extra stress that this state has caused me has caused so much mental trauma I will deal with it for the rest of my life, all because my state decided that placing judgment moral high ground was more important than giving us and our doctors the compassion to do what we knew was best.”
The full House Judiciary Committee began their debate over the bill around 10 am. Attempts by Democrats to change the bill further were all voted down. A little after 9:00 pm, the committee voted 16 to 7 to send the bill to the House floor.
Debate over the legislation on the floor could begin Thursday, the final day of session. Since lawmakers have not passed a Sine Die resolution, they could be called back to Columbia by the Governor to take up this legislation.