Bill banning abortions after 6-8 weeks faces another big hurdle in Senate SC

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – The fetal heartbeat bill to ban abortions in South Carolina after six to eight weeks lifted a key hurdle on Wednesday and could be passed by the Senate as early as Thursday.

“We have a long way to go, but we have never been so close,” Governor Henry McMaster said on Wednesday, alongside Republican leaders and activists supporting the bill. “My request, my exhortation, is not to stop now.”

In a 29-17 vote, the Senate pushed the bill past what is called second reading. While Democrats will have an opportunity to propose more amendments and obstruct the bill before it is voted on one last time in the Senate, party leaders now expect it to pass by bedroom.

“It will probably go through the Senate and we will move on to more meaningful topics in the weeks to come,” said Orangeburg Democrat and Senate Minority Leader Brad Hutto.

Only one Republican voted with the Democrats against the bill: Senator Sandy Senn, R-Charleston.

On Wednesday, the Senate also voted to add another exception to the bill, for pregnancies where there is a fetal abnormality. This is in addition to an exception for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest that was added earlier.

During the floor debate, Democrats expressed frustration with Republicans starting the legislative session by prioritizing an abortion bill.

Senator Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston, addressed the matter directly in front of the entire chamber.

“Hours and hours, hours, hours … that we will spend debating the merits of an unconstitutional bill as people die in the state of South Carolina from COVID,” he said Kimpson said.

The debate surrounding the constitutionality of the fetal heart rate bill has been at the heart of Democrats’ arguments against passing the bill.

Democratic Minority Leader Sen. Brad Hutto D-Orangeburg said the bill would waste taxpayer money on legal fees for lawyers defending the bill on behalf of the state in court .

“There is going to be a challenge to Roe V Wade in federal court in the future. But there are 28 other states that already have cases pending. South Carolina wants to champion our cause. It will just cost us a lot of money. It will not increase the fact that the courts decide whatever they decide, ”Hutto said.

McMaster was asked about this argument against the bill and disagreed with the minority leader’s assessment.

“There are cases that go through different districts and different circuits where they get different results and this is a key element for the Supreme Court where one circuit says ‘yes’ and another says ‘no'”, a- he declared. “We think it’s a matter of time before that happens and we think we’re going to win.”

McMaster also rejected Democrats’ arguments that Republican lawmakers are wasting their time advocating for an abortion bill rather than focusing on the state’s fight against COVID-19.

“We spend most of our time on the pandemic and have been doing it for a few months now – since it got here,” the governor said. “There are a lot of other important things going on, we just have to work a little harder, work a little faster, work a little harder every day.”

Other Republicans have also said the fetal heart rate bill is a priority for them because it is a key issue for their constituents. They say it’s about protecting life at all stages.

“When I come home everyday they say, ‘If you don’t pass Heartbeat, why did we vote for you? said Freshman Senator Josh Kimbrell, R-Spartanburg.

It takes a simple majority of current Senators to pass the bill and move it to the House where President Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, has said he believes it will pass as well.

Copyright 2021 WIS. All rights reserved.

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