State senate continues debate abortion laws

The clock is ticking for republican lawmakers in South Carolina to pass tighter abortion restrictions – if they want them in effect by the end of the year.
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 5:21 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2022 at 8:48 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The clock is ticking for republican lawmakers in South Carolina to pass tighter abortion restrictions – if they want them in effect by the end of the year. This comes after another attempt to pass an abortion bill failed again today at the State House.

The legislature would have to get a bill through both the House and the Senate in less than a month, or else they’d have to wait until next year to try to pass tighter restrictions.

Despite lawmakers being here throughout the summer and now into the fall to try to approve a new abortion law – neither the House nor the Senate have been able to come to an agreement yet on what it would be.

The 38-6 vote means South Carolina lawmakers remain at a stalemate – in Republicans’ push to further restrict abortion law – following the overturn of Roe v. Wade.

Right now, South Carolina’s current law amounts to a ban on abortion after around six weeks.

But the state Supreme Court has temporarily blocked it from being enforced with a hearing on that legal challenge scheduled for Wednesday.

The bill the Senate passed this summer adjusts that six-week ban – including clearing up the language in the law that led to the Supreme Court blocking it.

Senate Republicans say they don’t have enough support to pass an abortion ban from conception.

That’s what the House passed – including limited exceptions for the mother’s life and health and for victims of sexual assault.

Now neither chamber will agree to the other’s bill – including the Senate voting Tuesday to stick with its bill – instead of approving what’s called a motion to recede.

“I’m very disappointed in today’s vote. The motion to recede would’ve sent the House bill to the governor’s desk. … It was the kind of bill that almost all of those Republicans that voted against the motion to recede actually said they supported,” Sen. Richard Cash (R - Anderson) said.

“It thought that it had too many issues with it, that it had too many flaws in the House bill, that it was a very strict bill,” Sen. Katrina Shealy (R - Lexington) said.

Next, a small group of members from both chambers will try to work out a compromise between the House and Senate bills.

Again, they’d have to get that bill to the governor by Nov. 13, which one senator called today “a stiff challenge.”

The state Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in a challenge against South Carolina’s current six-week ban on abortion.

Abortion providers argue that the law violates rights in the state constitution to equal protection and privacy.