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The near-total abortion ban proposed by South Carolina legislators is going to the state Senate -- without the proposed exceptions for rape and incest.


The South Carolina House of Representatives recently passed a bill which would ban abortion in the state. Before House Bill 5339 could reach deliberation in the state Senate, the Senate Medical Affairs Committee voted Tuesday to strip the bill of exceptions for cases of rape and incest.

The committee voted to send the bill to the Senate in a 9-8 margin. The vote to remove the exceptions involved only men, who voted 7-3 in favor. Democrats abstained from the vote in a seemingly tactical plan to prevent the bill from moving on to the Senate.

Democratic State Senator Marlon Kimpson explained his refusal to vote, stating, "This is a bad bill. Exceptions do not make abortion restrictions less harmful. We, as lawmakers, should not be in a position to decide who gets an abortion and who does not get an abortion."

House Bill 5339 currently still holds exceptions for life-threatening complications, including molar pregnancies, ectopic pregnancies and severe preeclampsia, as well as any case that could cause "the substantial physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman."

It also still requires that healthcare providers report abortion cases to law enforcement. Patients who violate the law could be subject to two years in prison or fines of $10,000, and guardians of minors who receive abortions would be considered legally responsible.

Even if approved by the Senate, the bill would have to receive approval from the South Carolina Supreme Court, which is currently blocking a previous abortion ban for pregnancies after six weeks. The "heartbeat bill" banned any abortions once a fetal heartbeat could be detected, which usually develops at six weeks into the pregnancy, before one in three people are aware they are pregnant.

Many Republicans in the state House of Representatives initially declined to pass the bill without any exceptions for assault, and several Senators have also stated they cannot support the bill without exceptions for pregnancies that are the product of rape or incest.

The South Carolina State Senate will begin deliberation on House Bill 5339 on Wednesday.

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