The state Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Wednesday advanced a bill that would effectively ban all abortions in South Carolina.
The Charleston Post and Courier reports Republicans on the panel voted to move forward what’s known as a “personhood” bill to the full Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would legally define a “person” under the law as beginning at the moment of conception, meaning a fertilized human egg would be protected under state law.
Opponents of the bill said it would outlaw all abortion procedures in South Carolina, including cases of rape or when a woman’s life is threatened by a pregnancy. Some even insisted the bill’s logic could be expanded to block birth control or in vitro fertilization.
The measure is highly unlikely to pass this year due to time constraints, but similar bills have also failed to clear the Senate in the past. But supporters hope sending the measure to full committee means it can be considered next year. This year’s regular legislative session ends on May 11, but lawmakers will be able to pick up where they left off in January 2018, the second of a two-year term.
The subcommittee’s three Republicans State Sens. Mike Gambrell, R-Anderson; Scott Talley, R-Spartanburg; and Rex Rice, R-Pickens, voted for the bill. Two Democratic senators on the subcommittee State Sens. Margie Bright Matthews, D-Colleton; and Mia McLeod, D-Richland; voted against advancing it.