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Lawmakers in South Carolina at odds over proposed abortion bans

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(COLUMBIA, S.C.) — The South Carolina State Senate rejected a bill that would ban nearly all abortions just days after House lawmakers approved the ban.

The Senate went on to pass a separate bill that has an exception for fetuses born with a fatal anomaly. Both the House and Senate versions included exceptions for pregnancies that are a result of rape or incest; however, the Senate bill only allowed this exception if the abortion is performed within the first trimester of pregnancy.

When a physician performs an abortion under the rape or incest exceptions, the Senate bill requires the physician to report the allegations to his or her respective county sheriff’s department within 24 hours of performing or inducing the abortion. This includes reporting the name and contact information for the woman making the allegation. The physician would also be required to preserve a DNA sample from the fetal remains and submit the evidence to the country sheriff.

The physician would also be required to add a note to the woman’s medical records that the abortion was performed under the exception.

The Senate bill criminalizes providers who perform abortion services in the state. The bill makes it illegal to perform an abortion or administer, provide or distribute medication or drugs that induce an abortion. A person found guilty of providing an abortion could face a fine of up to $10,000 and jail time of up to two years.

The Senate bill also prevents Planned Parenthood from utilizing state funds for any purposes related to abortions.

South Carolina’s Supreme Court temporarily blocked a six-week abortion ban from going into effect in August. The temporary block was part of a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood in July. The organization alleged that the abortion ban is an invasion of privacy and a violation of equal protection under the state constitution.

The ban was signed into law in February 2021 by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and took effect June 27 when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

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