The next session of the S.C. General Assembly doesn’t convene until January, but Republicans in the State Senate are already working to try and pass a bill that essentially would prohibit abortions in the state. It’s known as the Fetal Heartbeat Bill.
It won easy passage in the House of Representatives earlier this year, and Republican Governor Henry McMaster has said if the bill passes he’ll sign it into law. Because the bill is expected to have a harder time passing in the Senate its' backers are already at work trying to give it a head start in next year’s session.
The fetal heartbeat bill would require an ultra-sound test before an abortion can be performed. If a heartbeat is detected, an abortion would be prohibited. A heartbeat in a fetus usually takes place around the sixth to eighth week of pregnancy, a time when many women don’t realize they are pregnant. The bill allows no exceptions for birth defects, but would allow an abortion if a mother’s life were in danger.
Last week a sub-committee of the Republican controlled Medical Affairs Committee held a public hearing on the bill. Over fifty witnesses testified. The testimony was familiar from past debates: Pro-life versus pro-choice.