The South Carolina House on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a bill banning nearly all abortions, following the lead of other states with similar measures that would go into effect if the US Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade. The bill faces a final procedural vote in the House on Thursday that is unlikely to change the outcome and will then be sent to the governor for his signature, the AP reports. Republican Gov. Henry McMaster has promised to sign the measure as soon as possible. The Senate approved the measure on Jan. 28, after years of failed attempts. Republicans gained three seats in the 2020 elections and the newly energized 30-16 Republican majority made the proposal Senate Bill No. 1. “This is the greatest pro-life bill this state has ever passed,” said Republican Rep. David Hiott of Pickens.
The "South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act" requires doctors to perform ultrasounds to check for a heartbeat in the fetus. If one is detected, the abortion can only be performed if the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest or the mother’s life is in danger. While Wednesday's House approval was nearly a foregone conclusion, the road there was rocky. One Republican lawmaker who wanted a stricter law saying fetuses have the rights of all citizens at conception threw up his papers and stormed out in a ruckus that angered the speaker. Most Democrats walked out of the chamber to protest the bill. Groups that oppose the bill will likely sue, keeping the law from going into effect. All of the similar bans passed by around a dozen other states are tied up in court challenges.
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