The South Carolina Senate moved forward with a bill Tuesday to protect unborn babies from abortion once their heartbeats are detectable.
WRDW News 12 reports a state Senate committee approved an amended version of the bill in a 4-3 vote, moving it forward to the full Senate Medical Affairs Committee.
State House Bill 3020 would require abortion practitioners to test for an unborn baby’s heartbeat and prohibit the abortion if they detect one. An unborn baby’s heartbeat typically is detectable about six weeks of pregnancy, so the legislation would ban most abortions. The newly-amended version does not include exceptions for rape and incest; however, exceptions still would be allowed if the mother’s life is at risk, The Post and Courier reports.
South Carolina Citizens for Life Executive Director Holly Gatling said most abortions kill a baby after their heart has started beating.
“Our mission is to protect the lives of unborn children who have no more rights than a styrofoam cup under the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions,” she said, according to the local news. “Basically, the child in the womb was declared a nonperson with no rights, whatsoever.”
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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The abortion industry is fighting against the legislation. They claim women should be allowed to make the decision to abort an unborn baby without government interference.
South Carolina and a growing list of other states have considered or passed similar legislation. Lawmakers in Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio passed similar legislation within the past year, but none currently are in effect due to legal challenges. Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced a heartbeat bill in their state this week.
A May poll found strong public support for heartbeat legislation. The Hill-HarrisX survey found that 55 percent of voters said they do not think laws banning abortions after six weeks – when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable – are too restrictive, according to The Hill.
Some pro-lifers have renewed hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court will uphold an abortion ban and overturn Roe v. Wade. Others, however, are hesitant because of concerns about losing the court battle and being forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said the following about its ruling on the six-week abortion ban: “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 Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, and instead allowed abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.