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The South Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that bans abortion in almost all cases. In doing so, it follows the lead of other states that passed similar measures, which would go into effect if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
The lower house approved the bill with 79 votes in favor and 35 against, after rejecting a hundred proposed amendments.
The bill was approved by the Senate on January 28th. It faces a final procedural vote in the lower chamber this Thursday that will likely not change the outcome and then go to the governor for his signature. Republican Gov. Henry McMaster has promised to sign it as soon as possible.
Under the bill, a doctor must perform ultrasounds to detect a fetal heartbeat. If detected, the abortion can only be performed if it is the product of rape or incest, or if the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life.
The bill would not punish a pregnant woman for having an illegal abortion, but the person who performed the abortion could be charged with a felony, sentenced to up to two years and fined $10,000 if convicted.