Abortion ban bill headed to Senate floor, exceptions for rape and incest restored

Abortion ban bill headed to Senate floor, exceptions for rape and incest restored

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A panel of lawmakers voted to re-add exceptions for rape and incest to a bill that would ban most abortions in the state Tuesday afternoon.

The Senate Medical Affairs committee took up the Fetal Heartbeat Bill (H.3020) as amended by the subcommittee in October.

The full committee voted to strike down the subcommittee's report. That vote restored the rape and incest exceptions in the legislation.

Some Republicans said an abortion ban bill like this can not pass in the Senate without these exceptions for rape and incest. Senator Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) said, "I want a bill that passes. I want a bill that will be signed by Governor McMaster. I want a bill that we can proudly defend in the federal district court and I view this as the best way to accomplish that objective."

Sen. Richard Cash (R-Anderson) filed the amendment during the subcommittee meeting in October that removed the exceptions for rape and incest from the House's version of the bill. He said, "If I've got to weigh those things - the right to life is always going to sink heavier in the balance. It is the preeminent right."

The Senate Medical Affairs committee is made up of 10 Republicans and 7 Democrats. Two women are also on the panel. Sen. Margie Bright Matthews (D-Colleton) was the only woman in attendance for Tuesday's meeting. She said, "There's still going to be a fight on the floor. I'm the only woman that's here, with a lot of people who aren't women telling me what to do with my body. It's going to be a fight."

During Tuesday's meeting, lawmakers approved an amendment to the legislation that would require a woman who is pregnant as a result of rape or incest to file a police report before seeking an abortion.

Sen. Marlon Kimpson (D-Charleston) said, "You can't put lipstick on a pig. This bill is still a pig. We are denying a woman the right to choose."

The committee voted to send H.3020 to the Senate floor by a 9-6 margin. Lawmakers voted along party lines.

Senators could take up the bill on the floor in 2020.

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