SC Senate panel approves bill effectively banning all abortions

SC Senate panel approves bill effectively banning all abortions

A South Carolina Senate panel has approved legislation that would effectively ban all abortions in the state, sending the measure to the full Senate for a vote.

The committee voted 12-9 along party lines, with one GOP senator abstaining, to approve the “Personhood Act,” which gives legal rights to fertilized eggs from the moment of conception, according to The State.

The bill is endorsed by Gov. Henry McMaster (R) and Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant (R), who sponsored the bill, which follows the state’s 2016 decision to ban abortions after 20 weeks, the newspaper added.

GOP State Sen. Richard Cash, who argued for the measure, said that he hopes it will lead to overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that affirmed women’s rights to have an abortion.

Cash also confirmed during debate that the bill would apply to abortions in the case of rape or incest, facing stiff opposition from Democrats, according to The State.

“If a child is raped, yes, that is a horrible act,” he said in response to a Democrat colleague’s line of questioning about a hypothetical situation in which an 11-year-old girl was raped and impregnated.

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“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” Cash added. “You cannot erase the rape by killing the child. The child is an innocent person.”

Democrats reportedly raised concerns that the bill would affect the legality of fertility treatments, and target doctors who perform abortions to save the life of the mother in a medical emergency. An amendment to the bill would make an exception for “unintended” death if the doctor makes “reasonable medical efforts” to save the life of both the mother and child.

The GOP state senator who abstained, Sandy Senn, said she thought the bill was unconstitutional, according to The State.

McMaster praised the panel's decision and urged the full Senate to "pass it without delay."

“I believe that human life begins at conception, and I believe the people of South Carolina deserve for their laws to reflect the values they hold dear," the governor said, the newspaper reported.