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20-Week Abortion Ban Moves Through South Carolina House

Nina Liss-Schultz

A bill banning abortions after 20 weeks passed the South Carolina House of Representatives Wednesday in an 80-27 vote.

A bill banning abortions after 20 weeks passed the South Carolina House of Representatives Wednesday in an 80-27 vote.

HB 3114, pre-filed in December by Republican Rep. Wendy Nanney, would ban the procedure at 20 weeks, a point at which anti-choice advocates contend fetuses can start to feel pain.

That argument is unsubstantiated, according to medical experts, including the American Medical Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Two 20-week bans, both called the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” were introduced by the South Carolina Senate earlier this year. The anti-choice legislation does not include exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal abnormalities. Physicians who provide abortion care would face penalties of up to $10,000, and face up to three years in prison.

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The legislature has introduced myriad anti-choice bills, including a ban on medication abortion in most cases, a medically unnecessary admitting privileges law, and a ban on state health insurance plans from being used to pay for abortions.

South Carolina was one of two state houses to pass a 20-week ban on Wednesday. In West Virginia, the GOP-dominated house voted 80 to 12 to pass the state’s own “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.”

Similar bills have also been introduced in Oregon and Virginia, though the proposal in Virginia failed. A 20-week ban is also expected in Ohio.

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