COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina is one step closer to passing a Fetal Heartbeat bill.
On Tuesday morning, a panel of state senators voted to send the bill to the Senate Medical Affairs Committee.
Earlier this year, the South Carolina House passed the bill which would ban abortions after a heartbeat is detected or around six weeks into a pregnancy. Exceptions for rape and incest were added to the legislation during a debate on the House floor.
Before lawmakers voted on the bill Tuesday morning, an amendment was proposed to the bill that removed the rape and incest exceptions added by the House. That amendment passed by a 4-3 vote.
"There are no easy answers if a woman is pregnant as the result of rape or incest,” said Sen. Richard Cash (R-Anderson), who proposed the amendment. “There are no easy answers to that. No one who is pro-life is asserting this is something simple or easy."
Sen. Cash said he will advocate for the amended bill every step of the process.
"People struggle with this. I don't make light of this legitimate struggle," he said. "It's my role to try to articulate why even in the worst of circumstances a human life is a human life."
Senator Marlon Kimpson (D-Charleston) voted against the amendment and the bill. He said during Tuesday's meeting that when the bill makes it to the Senate floor for debate he would delay a final vote.
"Those of you who will applaud after this vote. Your applause will be temporary," Sen. Kimpson said.
Pro-choice organizations held a press conference following Tuesday's vote.
"What we heard today took a really awful bill and made it far worse," said Ann Warner with the South Carolina Women's Rights and Empowerment Network.
H.3020 is now headed to a full committee. There it is expected to pass and go to the Senate floor for debate.