COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — A bill that would ban nearly all abortions in South Carolina is one step closer to becoming law.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 13 to 7 (with five members on the committee not voting) to give H.5399 a favorable report. The legislation is now headed to the House floor.

The bill would ban almost all abortions in South Carolina, except when the mother’s life or health is in danger.

Rep. John McCravy (R-Greenwood) said, “It bans the practice of abortion as birth control. It protects and preserves all legitimate women’s health care. Availability of contraceptives are not impacted by this bill.”

During the subcommittee and committee meetings Tuesday, House Democrats voiced their opposition to the possible ban. Some questioned why state lawmakers were moving so quickly with the bill.

Rep. Spencer Wetmore (D-Charleston) said, “I shudder to think what world we’re leaving for my daughters, where we have sold out to the pocketbooks of national organizations and abandoned our South Carolina women and doctors.”

Currently, South Carolina has a six-week ban in effect. It is also known as the Fetal Heartbeat law. State lawmakers passed it in 2021, on the House floor they included exceptions for rape or incest.

Some Republicans on the committee said changes need to be made to the near-total ban before it could receive their support on the floor.

Rep. Neal Collins (R-Pickens) said, “Out of respect for the process, I’m not voting today. I want it to be clear that myself and many others are not in a position to vote for this bill without significant changes to this bill.”

In a statement, House Speaker Murrell Smith (R-Sumter) wrote:

“Today, the House Judiciary Committee advanced legislation that protects unborn life in South Carolina. The Dobbs decision rightly returned to the individual states the authority to regulate abortion and South Carolina continues to have that debate. I am encouraged by the progress we have made and look forward to the full House considering this legislation in the coming weeks.”

SC House Speaker Murrell Smith

The House is scheduled to return to Columbia on August 30th.