SC Abortion Bill Heading to Gov.’s Desk for Expected Signature

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley says President Trump "believes the climate is changing."

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) – A bill that would ban abortions in South Carolina after the 19th week of pregnancy is heading to Gov. Nikki Haley’s desk, after the state House gave its final approval Tuesday. She’s expected to sign it because she said in March, after the Senate passed the bill, “By nature, I have always signed pro-life bills and I can’t imagine any scenario where I wouldn’t sign it.”

The bill does have exceptions for a medical emergency or severe fetal anomaly, but would not allow abortions in cases of rape or incest. Bill co-sponsor Rep. Donna Hicks, R-Boiling Springs, says a woman who is raped or the victim of incest still has almost five months to get an abortion.

But Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, House Minority Leader, says, “It is abhorrent to any woman out there, to any constituent looking at this situation, that we would allow a father to climb on top of a daughter and impregnate her, for a woman to be raped and now being told by this General Assembly what they’re going to have to do with their body.”

Rep. James Smith, D-Columbia, says there will be a court challenge to the law, which could cost South Carolina taxpayers millions of dollars to defend, and the state will lose. “It’s facially unconstitutional,” he says. “We have a responsibility to uphold and defend the constitution of our state and the United States, and this law, everywhere it’s been passed and everywhere it’s been challenged, it’s been declared summarily to be unconstitutional.”

Similar laws have been struck down in three states, but they’re in place in 12 others.

Rep. Hicks says the state would not necessarily lose a court challenge. “In every situation, you always fight to get the courts to change their mind. I mean, in the civil rights issue, if we had ever stopped where would we be today, because the courts were against that at one point.”

Both sides agree that abortions at 20 weeks or later are rare. In 2012, the state had 25, and there were 35 in 2013. Rep. Smith says almost all of them were to save the life or health of the mother or because of severe problems with the baby, and were cases where the pregnancies were wanted.

While critics say the fact that abortions after 19 weeks are rare shows there’s no need for this law, Rep. Hicks says it shows there’s no reason for opponents to be against it. “My opinion is that even if it saves one child it’s worth saving that one child,” she says.


Here’s how state representatives voted on the bill:

Yeas 79; Nays 29

Those who voted in the affirmative are:


Allison                Anthony                Atwater

Ballentine             Bannister              Bedingfield

Bingham                Bowers                 Bradley

Brannon                G. A. Brown            Burns

Chumley                Clary                  Clemmons

Cole                   Collins                H. A. Crawford

Crosby                 Daning                 Delleney

Duckworth              Erickson               Felder

Finlay                 Forrester              Fry

Funderburk             Gagnon                 George

Goldfinch              Hamilton               Hardee

Hayes                  Henderson              Herbkersman

Hicks                  Hill                   Hiott

Hixon                  Horne                  Huggins

Johnson                Jordan                 Kennedy

Loftis                 Long                   Lowe

Lucas                  McCoy                  Merrill

D.C. Moss             V. S. Moss             Nanney

Newton                 Ott                    Pitts

Pope                   Putnam                 Quinn

Ridgeway               Riley                  Rivers

Ryhal                  Sandifer               Simrill

G.M. Smith            G. R. Smith            Sottile

Spires                 Stringer               Tallon

Taylor                 Thayer                 Toole

White                  Whitmire               Willis




Those who voted in the negative are:

Alexander              Bales                  Bamberg

Bernstein              R. L. Brown            Cobb-Hunter

Dillard                Gilliard               Hart

Henegan                Hodges                 Hosey

Jefferson              King                   Kirby

Mack                   McKnight               M. S. McLeod

W. J. McLeod           Mitchell               Neal

Parks                  Robinson-Simpson       Rutherford

J. E. Smith            Stavrinakis            Tinkler

Whipper                Williams


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