COLUMBIA, S.C. — A bill that would ban nearly all abortions without exceptions for rape or incest in South Carolina is heading to the full House floor after a 13-7 vote from the House Judiciary Committee. It's the latest move as some lawmakers move to outlaw the procedure following the decision to overturn Roe V. Wade earlier this summer.
The vote fell along party lines, with all yes votes coming from Republicans and all votes against the bill from Democrats. Five members did not vote.
Rep. Weston Newton (R-Beaufort) hinted that exceptions for rape or incest could be added back.
"Exceptions including rape and incest of minors are not now included in this bill, but are no less significant today, than they were when we passed the heart beat bill and celebrated that as being pro life," said Newton.
The proposed legislation does provide protections for the life of the mother and includes a limited number of health conditions that would allow doctors to perform abortions.
The bill does not criminalize South Carolinian's seeking an abortion, but does include penalties for those who perform the procedure. It also includes banning the selling and buying of drugs that induce abortions.
Rep. John McCravy (R-Greenwood) defended the bill, saying it protects women's health care, IVF, and access to contraception.
“All pre-born lives are protected and all innocent lives are protected no matter the circumstances of conception," said McCravy.
"Who will deliver all these babies you are forcing women to have? We already have a shortage of OBGYN’s but we also have a shortage of midwives.," said Rep. Pat Henegan.
"It's just a personal decision between a doctor, loved ones and someone’s god. That we should not be interjecting ourselves into," said Rep. Seth Rose (D- Richland)
Lawmakers like Democratic Rep. Spencer Wetmore spoke out against the ban, arguing it has already impacted women's healthcare.
“I have talked to more scared women and doctors than I could have ever imagined. Doctors scared to practice with the threat of criminal prosecution over their heads. Women scared to start families because they are worried this state will criminalize them if they have a miscarriage, or worse,” Wetmore said at the House subcommittee meeting Tuesday.
House Lawmakers are set to take up the new law on the floor late August.
The South Carolina Senate Medical Affairs Committee plans a public hearing on further abortion restrictions Wednesday.