COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – Discussions on abortion will continue in the 2020 legislative session. Earlier this year the South Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill banning most abortions in the state.
Tuesday, members of the Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee moved quickly to pass a fetal heartbeat abortion ban. It’s a move that brings the abortion bill one step closer to becoming law in South Carolina.
The debate over abortion has been at the forefront of South Carolina politics for many years. Most recently in 2018, senators spent a full day debating an abortion dismemberment bill that did not pass.
“We have now found ourselves back where we were in 2018,” said Senator Marlon Kimpson, recapping the filibustered debate almost 2 years ago.
The argument puts those who are pro-life against those who are pro-choice.
Anderson County Senator Richard Cash is pro-life: “The question always gets back to the first question, when does a human life begin.”
In April, the SC House passed a bill banning abortions at the detection of a heartbeat, which is often before a woman knows she is pregnant. Tuesday, the Senate subcommittee followed suit.
The fetal heartbeat bill was passed in the subcommittee with a 4-3 vote. Tuesday’s meeting also came with an interesting turn of events. Senator Cash made a motion to amend the bill and remove exceptions for rape or incest. The exceptions were added in the version of the bill passed in the House.
Senator Richard Cash explained his motion, “I believe that that life should be protected and should have equal protection under the law for each and every life at the moment of conception.”
Opponents of the proposal are concerned about the consequences of removing the exceptions and passing the bill.
“If this amendment passes and this bill passes now we are requiring a lady who should have a right to choice, not have the right to choose what she wants to do with her body,” said Senator Kevin Johnson.
Immediately following the subcommittee’s vote, community advocates against the proposal reacted to the decision. A press conference was held in the lobby of the State House.
Vicki Ringer with Planned Parenthood South Atlantic expressed her disappointment in the subcommittee’s decision. “I don’t think of us are surprised by the outcome it seemed to be a mission accomplished before we even walked in the room. the numbers were there.”
The bill will now need a favorable report from the full committee and a majority vote on the Senate floor before making it to the governor’s desk.
Governor Henry McMaster has already vowed to sign any pro-life legislation that comes across his desk.