The South Carolina legislature passed a bill that would ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, which is when most people find out they are pregnant.
Under this bill, doctors could face a $10,000 fine and two years in prison, as well as the loss of their medical license, if they violate the law. There are exceptions in the bill that extend access to legal abortion to 12 weeks. include fatal fetal anomalies, medical emergencies, and pregnancies caused by rape or incest.
The bill, which passed the state Senate Tuesday, nearly a week after it passed the state House, caused a split among lawmakers in the Republican-controlled chambers of the legislature and was challenged with several proposed amendments.
U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace (RS.C.), for example, opposed the bill and took issue with police reporting requirements to provide exemptions for victims of rape or incest, among other aspects of the law. bill, CBS news reports.
“I would not support this particular legislation because of the police reporting requirements,” Mace told CBS News last week. “I am a victim of rape. I was raped as a teenager at 16 years old. I couldn’t live with myself if I had to report it to the police. Most rape victims do not report it. It is an extremely traumatic experience. And forcing them to report to local sheriffs is wrong. It’s a failure.”
Five women in the state Senate, three of whom were Republicans, tried to block the bill, but the filibuster failed. New York Times informed.
The bill’s passage comes after the state House of Representatives pushed the state Senate to back legislation banning all post-conception abortions, the Times reported. The bill was successfully blocked three times by women in the Senate and three male Republicans. Republican women tried to push for the adoption of a 12-week ban, which was opposed by their Republican colleagues.
As a compromise, two of the Republican women agreed to a six-week ban with exceptions for medical emergencies, rape or incest, and fatal fetal abnormalities. CBS News. The proposal passed the state Senate earlier this year, but had to be voted on again after the House added amendments, including one that requires a judge to approve a minor abortion request.
Debates over whether or not the bill should be approved continued beyond the regular session of the legislature. Democrats had tabled more than 1,000 amendments to the legislation and insisted that Republicans consider them all, while Republicans, including House Speaker Murrell Smith, promised to work on legislation for the time it took, CNN reports.
The failure of the House of Representatives to pass the bill in regular session led Republican Governor Henry McMaster to call a special session earlier this month to get the bill passed. The legislation now heads to McMaster’s desk to be signed. The governor has said that he will sign it.
Once signed, South Carolina would join Georgia in banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and successfully restore a similar 2021 law that was struck down by the state Supreme Court in January. Currently, 14 states, many of which are in the South, have banned most abortions since the US Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade Act of 1973 that protected the right to abortion throughout the country.