South Carolina is about to ban almost all abortions, including for women who are as little as two months pregnant, under new fetal heartbeat legislation.
The state’s Senate on Thursday easily passed the South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act by a 30-13 vote.
The bill, which has already passed the state House and is expected to be signed into law by Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, requires doctors to perform ultrasound testing if they believe a woman is at least eight weeks pregnant.
If the doctor finds a heartbeat, and the pregnancy is not the result of rape or incest, the doctor is banned from performing an abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger.
Current state law bans abortion after 20 weeks.
Similar bills in about a dozen states are tied up in courts.
As expected, Thursday’s vote was hailed by anti-abortion activists and criticized by pro-choicers.
“Thank God for the people of this state,” Republican state Sen. Larry Grooms of Bonneau said.
Grooms, who has fought to end abortion for 24 years, was referring to South Carolinians who voted Republicans into new seats in last year’s elections, helping pro-lifers overcome years of legislative hurdles.
Democrats said South Carolina has many more pressing problems, including more than 6,000 people dead from COVID-19. It has never expanded Medicaid, raised the minimum wage and perpetually has an education system that ranks toward the bottom of the nation, said Democratic Sen. Margie Bright Matthews of Walterboro.
“What have we done for the living?” she asked.
With Post wires