COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — A bill that would have outlawed almost all abortions in South Carolina was changed on the South Carolina Senate floor Thursday evening.
Senators amended the bill to address legal concerns over the state’s six-week abortion ban, also known as the Fetal Heartbeat Act. After debating the possible change for more than an hour, it was adopted by voice vote.
The amended bill passed with a vote of 27-16.
Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey (R-Edgefield), who proposed the amendment, said on the floor Thursday night, “I think it’s pretty clear we won’t be able to pass a bill without exceptions. The votes aren’t there.”
That state’s six-week ban has been temporarily blocked by the South Carolina Supreme Court pending a legal challenge. Senator Massey said this change would ‘shore up’ the Fetal Heartbeat law. “This is not where I wanted to be. I was hoping that we would do something pretty aggressive in response to Dobbs,” he said.
The amended legislation would reduce the amount of time for the rape and incest exceptions from 20 weeks into a pregnancy to the first trimester. It would require doctors to obtain a DNA sample of an aborted fetus aborted due to the rape or incest exception.
A woman would also be required to get a second doctor to detect a fatal fetal anomaly before an abortion can be performed.
Sen. Sandy Senn (R-Charleston) said, “I think we ladies are about to suffer a setback at the hands of a lot of white males in here. But we’re going to live to fight another day.”
Disagreements between Republican Senators over rape and incest exceptions lead to the near total abortion ban deadlock. It passed the House of Representatives last week with limited rape or incest exceptions up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy.
Earlier this week, the Senate Medical Affairs Committee stripped those exceptions from the bill.
Attempts to put these exceptions back in the bill failed on the Senate floor Wednesday and Thursday.
Sen. Marlon Kimpson (D-Charleston) said Thursday was a sad day in South Carolina, “This is a day where my daughter will have less rights than her grandmother. We are turning the clock backwards.”
The legislation is now headed back to the South Carolina House of Representatives.
This is a developing story.