Earlier today the South Carolina House passed a bill banning nearly all abortions, in an effort to follow the lead of other states with similar measures that would go into effect if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
According to Associated Press, the Senate passed the proposal on Jan. 28th that faces a final procedural vote in the House on Thursday. Republican Governor Henry McMaster has already promised to sign the measure as soon as possible.
The House voted 79-35 in favor of the bill after a tense moment when all members of the Democratic caucus walked out in protest. A few remaining Democrats stayed behind as Republicans wiped out more than 100 proposed amendments.
After holding a news conference to speak against the bill, several other Democrats returned to express their opposition to the measure, which has come up for debate in the legislature numerous times over the 10 years. Nearly all House members along both political parties were present later for the actual vote.
The bill will require doctors to perform ultrasounds to check for a heartbeat in the fetus. If a heartbeat is detected, the abortion can only be performed if the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest or in a case where the mother’s life is in danger.
About a dozen other states have passed similar or more restrictive legislation banning abortions.
The bill would not punish a pregnant woman for getting an illegal abortion, but doctors who performed the abortion could be charged with a felony, sentenced up to two years, and fined $10,000 if found guilty.