News & Politics

S.C. Democrats Throw Tantrum as Fetal Heartbeat Bill Passes State House [UPDATED]

AP Photo/Fernando Antonio, File

The South Carolina House of Representatives yesterday passed “Fetal Heartbeat” legislation, which would significantly reduce abortions in the state.

The bill, S. 1, would require doctors to perform an ultrasound to detect a heartbeat before performing an abortion. If one is detected, doctors would be prohibited from performing an abortion except when the mother was the victim of rape or incest, if the mothers health is in jeopardy or if the fetus has anomalies incompatible with life. However, if a woman asks for an abortion because she was the victim or rape or incest, the doctor is required to report the crime to local law enforcement.

The legislation, supported by S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster (R), had already passed the state Senate by a wide margin on Jan. 28.

Although the bill has overwhelming support and passed by a 79-35 bi-partisan vote, House Democrats staged a series of outbursts to try and slow or stop the vote.

Democratic members of the South Carolina House have walked out of the chamber to protest a bill that would ban nearly all abortions in the state.

The members left the chamber Wednesday minutes before the fetal heartbeat bill was to come up for a vote. Rep. Todd Rutherford said the Democratic Caucus will not join in on the discussion of S.1 today as protest and calls it a “farce.”

If, as expected, Gov. McMaster signs the Fetal Heartbeat Bill into law, it would become one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation by banning most abortions after six weeks. The law is expected to face immediate court challenges and would probably find its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

UPDATE 1:26 p.m.: Gov. McMaster signed the bill this afternoon at the statehouse.

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