The South Carolina Senate has moved forward with a bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks post-fertilization, despite efforts by a GOP senator to block the legislation because it includes exceptions for rape and incest.
HB 3114, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” would create an unconstitutional ban on abortion before a fetus is viable, a point before which abortion is legally protected by Roe v. Wade.
Proposals like the one in South Carolina rest on spurious claims that fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks. That belief has been discredited by major medical institutions, including the American Medical Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
The bill passed the Republican-majority state house in February in a 71-22 vote, with a long list of sponsors. The 20-week ban received pushback in the state senate after Democrats added exceptions for rape and incest to the bill. State Sen. Lee Bright (R) attempted to filibuster the bill because he claimed the amendments were too lenient on pregnant people.
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“The founders never intended for us to kill our own children,” Bright said at the senate chamber podium.
Other anti-choice state senators, who favored the bill with the exceptions, sought to get Bright away from the podium and were eventually successful after voting to interrupt and end the debate. South Carolina’s anti-choice advocates roundly criticized Bright.
The amended bill was passed on Tuesday in a 37-7 vote. The amended version will be sent back to the house for final approval, after which it will go to anti-choice Gov. Nikki Haley (R), who is expected to sign the bill.
Proposals to ban abortion after 20 weeks post-fertilization have been a common anti-choice tactic this year. The U.S. House last week passed a ban on abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation, and GOP-controlled state legislatures have pushed similar bans: The legislation has been introduced this year in a number of states, including Wisconsin, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia.
A 20-week ban was made law this year in West Virginia, after the state legislature overrode its governor’s veto.