COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A controversial bill banning abortions after 20 weeks in the Palmetto State may be permanently stuck in limbo.
A day after Gov. Nikki Haley said she would most likely sign the legislation if it passed, the bill has hit a major stumbling block in the House.
One detail in the bill that differs between House and Senate versions of it -- and just a matter of two votes -- may be the difference between an abortion bill and an abortion law this year.
The Senate amended the bill, which bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy to include two small exceptions, when the mother's life is in danger and when the child would not survive outside of the womb, the Senate voted and passed that version of the bill and sent it back to the House.
That's where Rep. Greg Delleney made the argument that after 20 weeks, the fetus is capable of feeling pain.
"A child at that age feels pain," Delleney said. "When a surgeon operates on a child in the womb, they anesthetize that child at 20 weeks. That child responds to needles. It tries to avoid them. It recoils, so that's why they anesthetize the child."
But, since the House version only includes the exception that would allow abortions if the mother's life is threatened, the bill has to go to a conference committee between chambers. To do that ,the House has to vote on it, and it has to pass by exactly 83 votes.The vote was 28 against and 80 in favor -- not enough to make it to the committee.
Lawmakers can bring the bill back up again, but it will be stuck in limbo unless votes change. If it doesn't pass this session, lawmakers will have to reintroduce the bill next year.