A South Carolina bill that bans abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable may become law this week.
WMBF News reports the state House passed the South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act in a 79-35 vote Wednesday following its approval in the state Senate in late January.
The pro-life bill prohibits abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, typically about six weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions would be allowed in cases of rape, incest or risks to the mother’s life. Abortionists who violate the law could face a $10,000 fine or imprisonment for up to two years.
South Carolina lawmakers have been trying to pass a heartbeat bill for years and, after Republicans gained seats in the state legislature in November, many hope 2021 will be the year. Gov. Henry McMaster promised to sign the bill.
One Democrat, state Rep. Russell Ott, joined Republicans in approving the bill Wednesday. Meanwhile, most other Democrat lawmakers walked out of the House floor in protest, according to the local news.
South Carolina Citizens for Life leaders praised lawmakers for prioritizing unborn babies and mothers in the new legislative session.
“Since the beginning of the pro-life movement in 1973, the most popular pro-life motto has been, ‘Abortion stops a beating heart.’ It is a scientifically accurate statement, not a political soundbite,” the pro-life organization said in a statement in late January. “The Fetal Heartbeat Bill protects a pregnant woman’s right to know that her baby has a beating heart, and it protects the unborn members of our human family from death by abortion when the heartbeat can be detected.”
The bill also provides additional support for mothers in need. According to The Center Square, the legislation requires the state to fund prenatal and postnatal care for mothers who live in South Carolina and do not have insurance.