SC abortion bill heading to Gov.’s desk for expected signature

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – A bill that would ban abortions in South Carolina after the 19th week of pregnancy is heading to Gov. Nikki Haley’s desk, after the state House gave its final approval Tuesday. She’s expected to sign it because she said in March, after the Senate passed the bill, “By nature, I have always signed pro-life bills and I can’t imagine any scenario where I wouldn’t sign it.”

The bill does have exceptions for a medical emergency or severe fetal anomaly, but would not allow abortions in cases of rape or incest. Bill co-sponsor Rep. Donna Hicks, R-Boiling Springs, says a woman who is raped or the victim of incest still has almost five months to get an abortion.

But Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, House Minority Leader, says, “It is abhorrent to any woman out there, to any constituent looking at this situation, that we would allow a father to climb on top of a daughter and impregnate her, for a woman to be raped and now being told by this General Assembly what they’re going to have to do with their body.”

Rep. James Smith, D-Columbia, says there will be a court challenge to the law, which could cost South Carolina taxpayers millions of dollars to defend, and the state will lose. “It’s facially unconstitutional,” he says. “We have a responsibility to uphold and defend the constitution of our state and the United States, and this law, everywhere it’s been passed and everywhere it’s been challenged, it’s been declared summarily to be unconstitutional.”

Similar laws have been struck down in three states, but they’re in place in 12 others.

Rep. Hicks says the state would not necessarily lose a court challenge. “In every situation, you always fight to get the courts to change their mind. I mean, in the civil rights issue, if we had ever stopped where would we be today, because the courts were against that at one point.”

Both sides agree that abortions at 20 weeks or later are rare. In 2012, the state had 25, and there were 35 in 2013. Rep. Smith says almost all of them were to save the life or health of the mother or because of severe problems with the baby, and were cases where the pregnancies were wanted.

While critics say the fact that abortions after 19 weeks are rare shows there’s no need for this law, Rep. Hicks says it shows there’s no reason for opponents to be against it. “My opinion is that even if it saves one child it’s worth saving that one child,” she says.

Here’s how state representatives voted on the bill:
Yeas: 79; Nays: 29

Those who voted in the affirmative are:

Allison Anthony Atwater
Ballentine Bannister Bedingfield
Bingham Bowers Bradley
Brannon G. A. Brown Burns
Chumley Clary Clemmons
Cole Collins H. A. Crawford
Crosby Daning Delleney
Duckworth Erickson Felder
Finlay Forrester Fry
Funderburk Gagnon George
Goldfinch Hamilton Hardee
Hayes Henderson Herbkersman
Hicks Hill Hiott
Hixon Horne Huggins
Johnson Jordan Kennedy
Loftis Long Lowe
Lucas McCoy Merrill
D. C. Moss V. S. Moss Nanney
Newton Ott Pitts
Pope Putnam Quinn
Ridgeway Riley Rivers
Ryhal Sandifer Simrill
G. M. Smith G. R. Smith Sottile
Spires Stringer Tallon
Taylor Thayer Toole
White Whitmire Willis

Total: 79

Those who voted in the negative are:

Alexander Bales Bamberg
Bernstein R. L. Brown Cobb-Hunter
Dillard Gilliard Hart
Henegan Hodges Hosey
Jefferson King Kirby
Mack McKnight M. S. McLeod
W. J. McLeod Mitchell Neal
Parks Robinson-Simpson Rutherford
J. E. Smith Stavrinakis Tinkler
Whipper Williams

Total: 29

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