South Carolina Legislature Passes 6-Week Abortion Ban, Awaits Governor’s Decision

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South Carolina Senate Passes Six-Week Abortion Ban

South Carolina is set to enact a controversial six-week abortion ban after the state Senate approved the bill on Tuesday. Senate Bill 474, also known as the “Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act,” will now head to Governor Henry McMaster’s desk for signing into law. The bill bans most abortions after early cardiac activity can be detected in a fetus or embryo, which usually occurs around six weeks into pregnancy.

Penalties for Physicians Violating the Law

Under the proposed law, any physician who knowingly violates the ban would face severe consequences, including revoking their medical license by the State Board of Medical Examiners. They could also face felony charges, fines, and jail time.

Exceptions and Amendments Included in the Bill

The bill includes exceptions to save the patient’s life and for fatal fetal anomalies. It also provides limited exceptions up to 12 weeks for victims of rape and incest, with doctor reporting requirements to local law enforcement. Additionally, an amendment added by the House would require a “biological father” to pay child support from the point of conception.

Legal Challenges and Political Landscape

It remains uncertain whether the bill will survive legal challenges once it is signed into law. South Carolina passed a similar six-week abortion ban in 2021, but the state Supreme Court struck it down, concluding that the state constitution’s privacy protections require limits on the procedure to allow women sufficient time to end a pregnancy.

South Carolina will join a list of Republican-led states championing sweeping abortion restrictions in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. However, backlash against severe restrictions has come from all sides, Republicans included.

Opposition from Within the State Senate

A bipartisan group of five women lawmakers in the state Senate attempted to stop the bill from passing, but the three Republican men who joined them weeks ago in blocking a more restrictive total ban ultimately voted in favor of the six-week ban.

Republican state Sen. Katrina Shealy unsuccessfully tried to amend the bill to change the limit on abortions to 12 weeks and 20 weeks for victims of rape and incest, stating, “Men are 100% responsible for pregnancies…So, it is time for men in this chamber and the ones across that hall and all across the state of South Carolina to take some ejaculation responsibility.”

Legal Fight Expected with Planned Parenthood

Shortly after the bill’s passage, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic announced via Twitter, “We have just one thing to say to the state of South Carolina: We’ll see you in court.”

Original Story at www.cnn.com – 2023-05-24 02:07:00