A South Carolina committee has approved a bill that would protect unborn babies from abortion after they have a detectable heartbeat. The South Carolina House Judiciary Constitutional Laws Subcommittee passed the Heartbeat Bill (H3020) by a vote of 3-2. The bill now advances to the full Judiciary Committee.
It would require abortionists to test for a fetal heartbeat before every abortion and prohibit abortions if a heartbeat is detected. Exceptions would be allowed for medical emergencies.
An unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable by about six weeks of pregnancy, though new research suggests the heartbeat may begin as early as 18 days after conception.
State Rep. John McCravy, R-Greenwood, is behind the effort.
“It’s a common-sense bill. If a heart stops beating permanently, the person is dead,” McCravy said when he pre-filed the bill in December. “Common sense should tell us that when a heart is beating, we have a precious human life that should not be terminated.”
About 5,100 unborn babies were aborted in South Carolina in 2017, and most were later than six weeks of pregnancy, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.
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Jeannie Smith, CEO of Coastline Women’s Health Center, a pro-life pregnancy center, told WMBF News that she hopes the bill will end abortions in South Carolina.
“If we have someone who has a beating heart, that is a live person, and it’s the government’s duty to protect that life,” Smith said.
The controversial legislation could have a rough time getting through the state Senate, though. According to the local news, Democrats have enough members to filibuster the bill.
Pro-life Gov. Henry McMaster, who also is in a battle to defund the abortion giant Planned Parenthood, said he would support the legislation.
Heartbeat bills have been met with skepticism in the past, even by many pro-life groups, because of pro-abortion legal challenges. When states lose legal challenges to the abortion industry, their taxpayers often are forced to pay the abortion group’s legal fees.
North Dakota and Arkansas passed heartbeat bills several years ago, but federal courts struck down both laws. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said the following about their ruling: “Because there is no genuine dispute that (North Dakota’s law) generally prohibits abortions before viability — as the Supreme Court has defined that concept — and because we are bound by Supreme Court precedent holding that states may not prohibit pre-viability abortions, we must affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the plaintiffs.”
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the cases in 2016.
There is more hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court may consider an abortion ban, but it is difficult to say if it would for certain. Some legal scholars have speculated that the conservative court would be more likely to consider cases that gradually chip away at Roe v. Wade rather than reverse it completely.