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SC's Ad Hoc Committee discusses more restrictions on abortion

The 12-member committee presented a draft for a bill that would ban abortions with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s Ad Hoc Committee on abortion presented a draft of a bill that would ban abortions in the state. Right now, abortions in South Carolina are legal up until a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is around six weeks.

The 12-member committee, made up of eight Republicans and four Democrats, met for the second time today since Roe v. Wade was overturned. Earlier this month, the committee heard hours of public testimony from people on both sides of the issue. 

The chairman of the committee, Republican Rep. John R. McCravy, said the committee consulted the general public, legal experts and health professionals before writing the draft. 

RELATED: Who voted for, against South Carolina's Fetal Heartbeat Act?

Exceptions in the draft include a carve-out for pregnancies that pose a threat to a mother’s life. The bill goes into even more detail, listing specific conditions. But it does not include an exception for victims of rape.  

“To kill an innocent preborn child will never erase the criminal act, but what it will do is turn one tragedy into two tragedies," McCravy said in the meeting.

Under the draft, a woman will not be prosecuted for having an abortion, but the doctor performing the treatment can be. That includes civil and criminal consequences and even losing a medical license. 

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The Democrats on the committee, who are in the minority, argued against the draft and the implications it will have on women.

"Let me make myself loud and clear -- politicians need to stay out of the medical room," Rep. Rosalyn Henderson said. “I’ve talked to numerous doctors who are facing real-life situations already. They have to decide whether they want to go to jail or be sued if they care for their patients. This is an incredibly impossible position.” 

The meeting sparked protests outside of the Statehouse. Among them was a woman who said, as a physician, this law would put her between a rock and a hard place. 

“I shouldn’t have to worry about the legal consequences of doing the medically appropriate procedure on a patient. That shouldn’t be a concern that I have," Allison Steinauer said.

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Counter-protesters also shared their thoughts. 

“I believe that life is the most basic human right, and no one should have the right to end another person’s life just because of their location, their size, or if they see them as valuable or not," Savannah Craven said. 

McCravy said birth control and IVF treatments are protected under the bill. The draft heads to the judiciary committee next and it will then be heard in the House. Last month, a similar bill to ban abortions was introduced in the state Senate.

Contact Indira Eskieva at ieskieva@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Flashpoint is a weekly in-depth look at politics in Charlotte, North Carolina, South Carolina, and beyond with host Ben Thompson. Listen to the podcast weekly.
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