Exemptions for rape, incest removed from South Carolina abortion bill

Exemptions for rape, incest removed from South Carolina abortion bill

Credit: Aykut Erdogdu/Shutterstock.
Credit: Aykut Erdogdu/Shutterstock.

.- A senate subcommittee in South Carolina has removed two exemptions from a fetal heartbeat bill, which would ban abortions after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected, at roughly six weeks into pregnancy.

On Tuesday, the Senate’s Medical Affairs Subcommittee voted 4-3 to remove amendment H.3020 - an exception to the abortion ban in cases of rape and incest. The bill still allows for abortion in cases determined to be medical emergencies.

The amendment to remove the rape and incest exceptions was introduced by Republican state senator Richard Cash.

“You are in fact killing an innocent human being. Whether you mean to or not, you are punishing a person wrongfully for something he or she had nothing to do with,” Cash said, according to The State.

The fetal heartbeat bill was introduced last December by Rep. John McCravy and Sen. Larry Grooms. The exception for incest and rape was debated by the House of Representatives in April, and added before the bill passed through the House, 70-31, later that month.

The legislation, stripped of the exemptions, will now face the full Medical Affairs Committee. If the committee approves it, the bill will be introduced to the entire state Senate sometime after December. Earlier this year, Governor Henry McMaster promised to sign the bill into law if it reaches his desk.

In an Oct. 24 statement, the Diocese of Charleston expressed hope that the bill would become law.

“The Church deeply believes in the humanity of the unborn and supports the Senate’s vote to move the Heartbeat bill further along in the legislative process,” the statement read.

The legislation would require doctors to test for a fetal heartbeat before an abortion is performed. Doctors could face criminal penalties under the bill, although women seeking abortions would  not be criminally prosecuted.

A similar bill has failed in South Carolina in 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2018.

However, State Rep. Steven Long is confident that the time is right for pro-life efforts to move forward.

“We have a moral obligation to defend life,” Long said, according to The State.

“The court system is primed and ready for a good piece of pro-life legislation. Now is the time we need to be pushing and fighting to get legislation like this passed. The tide is turning,” he said.

Tags: Abortion, Pro-life, Catholic News, South Carolina, Fetal Heartbeat bill