South Carolina House committee advances near-total abortion ban bill

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South Carolina is the latest state to inch toward a total abortion ban after the state’s House passed a bill out of committee that would prohibit abortions in the state.

Exceptions to the law would be if the health or life of the mother was at risk, according to the bill.

The law passed out of a House Judiciary ad-hoc subcommittee on Wednesday 13-7, with five committee members abstaining, The Hill reported. No amendments or details were added, the Post and Courier reported.

Lawmakers on the South Carolina House Judiciary Committee listen as Rep. Justin Bamberg details his opposition to a proposed abortion ban on Tuesday in Columbia, South Carolina.
Lawmakers on the South Carolina House Judiciary Committee listen as Rep. Justin Bamberg details his opposition to a proposed abortion ban on Tuesday in Columbia, South Carolina.

(AP Photo/James Pollard)

Republican Rep. John McCravy, one of the drafters of the bill, said during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday that the bill aligns with language passed in nearly 20 different states after Roe v. Wade was overturned on June 24.

Currently, the state has a six-week ban in place after Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed the “South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act” into law in February 2021. Doctors are required to scan for a heartbeat before performing an abortion, the law reads.

McCravy said during the hearing that the ad-hoc committee held hearings taking into account testimonies from over 100 people, including doctors, OB-GYNs, and lawyers.

“The No. 1 thing that this bill does is to end the practice of abortion being used as birth control in our state,” McCravy said. “The No. 1 thing that this bill does not do is to endanger the healthcare of women in any way.”

He said the danger to women’s healthcare was the top misconception repeated in the testimonies. The law outlines provisions for the mother’s life and bodily health and is “fully protected in this legislation.”

McCravy claims that, because of these misconceptions, this bill will provide specific assurance and clarity that is not found in any other legislation in the nation.

“It is the committee’s intent that this language will serve as a model for partnering with medical establishments’ perceived need for absolute clarity of interpretation and avoidance of any remote possibility of confusion,” McCravy said.

As of now, 17 states have banned or nearly banned abortions in their state. Of those 17, Utah’s trigger ban post-Roe was temporarily blocked and West Virginia’s total abortion ban blocked on June 27 and July 18, respectively, the Washington Post reported.

McMaster said in June that he “looks forward to the day we don’t have abortions” and will sign whatever the state Legislature passes to him,” the Post and Courier reported.

The house committee bill, which passed along party lines, prompted several Democrats to respond with reasons for their “no” votes.

Democrat Rep. Justin Bamberg, who stated that he is Christian, said there is a reason for separating church and state and that it was improper for religious beliefs to “spill over into the political context.”

“This legislation is forcing [Christianity] on people. It is the very definition of anti-Christian, in my personal opinion,” Bamberg said. “My stance on this bill and my vote of ‘no’ is not based in Christianity. It’s based in right and wrong.”

The Washington Examiner reached out to McCravy and McMaster for comment.