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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A bill banning abortion in South Carolina beyond the 19th week of pregnancy is heading to the full House Judiciary Committee.

A legislative panel voted 2-1 Tuesday to advance the proposal, which provides an exception only when the mother's life is in danger. Doctors who disregard the ban could be charged with a felony.

The bill's sponsors say the measure is about protecting children from pain. The bill states a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks old.

But opponents say that's not scientifically settled, and that other reviews conclude a fetus doesn't feel pain before 24 weeks.

Opponents call the bill an unconstitutional political interference in a women's private medical decision. They contend such late-term abortions are rare and generally occur in wanted pregnancies that go horribly wrong.

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