The South Carolina House of Representatives has passed a bill to restrict abortion after approximately six weeks of pregnancy, per a vote held in the House late on Wednesday.
The House passed Senate Bill 474, known as the “Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act,” with amendments, by a vote of 82 to 32, with all Republicans and two Democrats voting in favor. The bill would prohibit abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually after six weeks of pregnancy.
The bill includes exceptions permitting abortion for pregnancies resulting from rape and incest, though only if the fetus is below twelve weeks old, and for the mother’s medical necessity, though excluding “psychological and emotional conditions,” as such necessities. It also includes an exception for “fatal fetal anomalies,” per the bill.
South Carolina House Dems bring 1,000 amendments to an anti-abortion ban.
Even if you are in a red state – especially if you are in a red state – this is the kind of fight we want from our Dems.pic.twitter.com/WWV4eyNGId
— Erin Reed (@ErinInTheMorn) May 10, 2023
Republican Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina issued an executive order convening both houses to pass the bill, among other conservative measures that had not been passed by the legislature.
Penalties for violating the law’s various provisions include fines up to $50,000, imprisonment of doctors for up to two years, and revocation of medical licensure, as well as the creation of civil causes of action against doctors who perform these abortions, per the bill.
The bill is identical to a law the South Carolina Supreme Court overturned the law in January, arguing that it violated the state constitution’s right to privacy — with McMaster and state Republicans vowing to pass the bill, again.
“[T]he State House just voted to pass extreme legislation that bans abortion before many women know they are pregnant…all against the advice of doctors and South Carolinian women,” wrote Christale Spain, the chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, on Twitter.
In advance of the House vote, Democrats had submitted over 1,000 amendments to the bill to impede it from reaching the floor, most of which were rejected by the House, which has a Republican majority of 52 members over Democrats. “We are going to make it hurt if they are going to force this on us,” Democratic state Rep. Beth Bernstein told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
McMaster, the President of the South Carolina State Senate, and members of the state’s Congressional delegation have been contacted for a comment.
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