The House returned to statewide session on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, giving their approval by a 67-38 vote to the “South Carolina Human Life Protection Act” which now heads to the Senate for their consideration. The near-total abortion ban includes rape and incest exceptions for up to twelve weeks of pregnancy, along with a reporting requirement in these circumstances; and also includes exceptions for life and health of the mother. Representative Micah Caskey (R-Lexington) put forward an amendment that requires the biological father to pay child support applied retroactively towards conception, which was adopted by the body on a voice vote.
Passage of the legislation was more difficult than originally expected, after a number of Republican lawmakers stated they would not vote for any legislation that did not include exceptions, and twenty other Republican Caucus members signed on to a letter asserting that they would not vote for any bill that did include exceptions. Democrats also voted with members of the Family Caucus throughout the day, voting against any exception amendments in hopes that the bill would ultimately fail. It appeared the bill was likely to do so as members were poised to vote on a bill that had no exception language included, but House Majority Leader Davey Hiott called for a recess during which members of the Republican Caucus agreed to add exceptions to the bill and move it forward. After the debate and vote, Representative Beth Bernstein (D-Richland) called it “a sad day for women across the state” while Representative John McCravy (R-Greenwood) stated that “we have passed a good, pro-life bill in South Carolina.”
The Senate returns on Tuesday, September 6th to begin their consideration of the legislation. Governor McMaster has pledged to sign abortion legislation should it reach is desk.
Source: Brian Flynn, your ABC Stores of SC Lobbyist, McGuireWoods Consulting