A bill which bans a type of second-trimester abortions in South Carolina has moved to the full state Senate floor.
State Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, said that the legislation would prohibit a procedure opponents call “dismemberment abortion,” but which the medical community calls a “dilation and evacuation.”
“This bill does not ban any other form of abortion. Or abortion by any other method,” Davis said during the Senate Medical Affairs Committee meeting on Thursday morning.
Opponents feel that approving such legislation would bring about expensive lawsuits against the state. “Why waste so much time and money we don’t have? Why don’t we just wait until this legislation is litigated,” State Sen. Kevin Johnson, D-Clarendon, asked. He noted similar laws have been blocked in other states.
Dilation and evacuation is the most common type of second-trimester abortion, although it is only a sliver of the total number of abortions performed in the state each year. It is usually only done if the mother’s health is at risk. However, abortion opponents say the method requires tearing the limbs off a fetus to remove it. They want the fetus euthanized through a separate procedure.
Under the proposed legislation, doctors who perform the procedure could be charged with a felony, punishable by a $10,000 fine and two years in prison.
Davis also was on the subcommittee that heard testimony from doctors. “My impression was that you had physicians on both sides of this issue in relatively equal numbers.”
The proposed legislation’s advancement out of the Senate Medical Affairs Committee means it now goes to the full Senate.