South Carolina Bans Abortions After 19 Weeks
The South Carolina Legislature passed a bill Tuesday prohibiting abortion after 19 weeks, becoming the 17th state to pass the restrictive ban.The legislation will now head to Gov. Nikki Haley’s desk. The Republican said in March she will almost certainly sign it, but wants to look at the details once it reaches her desk.
Similar laws are in effect in 12 states. They’ve been blocked by court challenges in three others, and the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule on the ban’s constitutionality. A South Dakota law signed in March takes effect this summer.
In Utah, a related law, also signed in March, requires doctors to provide anesthesia to a fetus at least 20 weeks in the womb.
The South Carolina House approved the bill 79-29. The Senate approved a compromise in March.
The ban allows exceptions only if the mother’s life is in jeopardy or a doctor determines the fetus can’t survive outside the womb. The measure’s limited definition of “fetal anomaly” means it would be illegal to abort a fetus with a severe disability if the child could live.
Such anomalies are generally detected around 20 weeks.
That “fetal anomaly” exception was crucial for the bill clearing the Senate, where Democrats had blocked the legislation for years.
Sen. Brad Hutto, a leading opponent, still believes it should be the woman’s choice. But he called the compromise he’s worked on since last year “the best we can get.” As it initially passed the House, the bill gave an exception only for the mother’s life.
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