Rape, incest exceptions out of South Carolina abortion bill

Sep 6, 2022, 10:34 AM | Updated: 2:56 pm
Opponents of a total ban on abortion gather in the lobby of the South Carolina Statehouse on Tuesda...

Opponents of a total ban on abortion gather in the lobby of the South Carolina Statehouse on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

(AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina Senate committee voted Tuesday to remove exceptions for rape and incest from a proposed abortion ban setting up a showdown among Republicans wary of passing such a restrictive bill.

Democrats helped set up the fight, choosing not to vote with three moderate Republicans who wanted to keep the exceptions in the bill.

The same bill without the exceptions appeared to fail in the more conservative state House last week before some Republicans maneuvered through a series of votes to allow abortions for rape and incest victims up to the 12th week of pregnancy.

The Senate Medical Affairs Committee vote 9-8 with two Republicans joining all Democrats — to send the bill to the full Senate, where debate is expected to begin Wednesday morning. The exceptions could be restored during that debate.

Democrats also refused to vote on other proposals by Republican Sen. Tom Davis, who has said for weeks the bill needs to be modified from a total ban before he can support it.

They included increasing access to contraceptives and including birth control as part of the state’s abstinence-based sex education as well as assuring that a doctor can perform the abortion if it is determined a fetus has a medical condition that won’t allow it to live outside the womb.

Democrats are not going to help Republicans out of a box of their own making by making “an awful bill a very bad bill,” Senate Minority Leader Brad Hutto said.

“We think by highlighting the fact a bunch of extreme, Republican men are trying to control women’s decisions in South Carolina — they need to own that. The governor needs to own that,” Hutto told reporters.

Republicans told their Democratic colleagues their strategy was shortsighted.

“We heard a lot of talk about protecting women’s rights. It looks like when they had a chance, they didn’t,” Republican Sen. Michael Gambrel said.

Several Republicans senators have said they cannot support the bill without the exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape and incest. There are 30 Republicans and 16 Democrats in the state Senate.

Senators will get another chance to change the bill Wednesday, including adding the exceptions back or any amendments that were rejected at Tuesday’s meeting.

The bill bans all abortions in South Carolina except when the mother’s life is at risk. Before they were removed, the bill also included exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape and incest. In those cases, the doctor would have to tell the woman the rape will be reported and her name given to the county sheriff within 24 hours of the procedure. The bill would have only allowed abortions in those cases up to 12 weeks after conception.

The proposal also starts child support payments at the date of conception and requires a father to pay half of pregnancy expenses, including the mother’s share of insurance premiums. The father of a child conceived by rape or incest must also pay the full cost of mental counseling from the attack.

South Carolina currently has a ban on abortions once cardiac activity in a fetus is detected, which is usually about six weeks. But that law has been suspended as the South Carolina Supreme Court reviews whether it violates the state’s constitutional right to privacy. That leaves South Carolina’s older 20-week abortion ban as the current benchmark.

Abortion bans have had mixed success in state legislatures since Roe v. Wade was overturned. Indiana passed a ban in August that goes into effect later this month with the rape, incest and life of the mother exceptions. West Virginia’s Legislature could not agree on stricter rules during a special session in July.

And lawmakers in South Carolina suddenly started paying much closer attention to Kansas when nearly 60% of voters rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed the state’s Legislature to ban abortion. The states voted for Republican Donald Trump in nearly identical percentages in the 2020 presidential election.

Davis and Sen. Sandy Senn, who voted against the bill in committee, have said they can’t support it as written. Another Republican senator, Katrina Shealy, said the state’s current law is fine. Other senators have suggested privately that the General Assembly didn’t need to rush into a special session and could have waited to see how the six-week South Carolina ban and total bans in other states worked out.

Davis told the committee he thinks the rights of a mother who is pregnant to control her own body have to be balanced with the rights of fetuses to their lives, so he considers both a ban on all abortions or allowing abortions any time during pregnancies too extreme.

Davis also said if the state is going to require more women to have babies, then they owe it to them to give them better prenatal care, their children better educational opportunities and birth control options so they don’t get pregnant.

___

Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

NC Senate candidates to meet in likely only televised debate

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The two major-party candidates seeking to succeed retiring North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr are meeting for what is likely their only televised debate. Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican Ted Budd agreed to a one-hour debate being held Friday night at a cable television studio in Raleigh. Budd is a three-term […]
23 hours ago
Jordan Cromer cleans water-logged items at his home, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in North Port, Fla. Res...
Associated Press

Hurricane Ian floods leave mess, insurance questions behind

NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) — Christine Barrett was inside her family’s North Port home during Hurricane Ian when one of her children started yelling that water was coming up from the shower. Then it started coming in from outside the house. Eventually the family was forced to climb on top of their kitchen cabinets — […]
23 hours ago
Attorney Chris Mattei displays a video during his closing statements in the Alex Jones Sandy Hook d...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: Jurors weigh cost of Alex Jones’ Sandy Hook lies

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — For a decade, the parents and siblings of people killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have been tormented and harassed by people who believe the mass shooting was a hoax. How do you put a price tag on their suffering? That’s part of the task faced by a Connecticut […]
23 hours ago
FILE - Suffolk County Congressman Lee Zeldin listens as he prepares to participate in New York's Re...
Associated Press

GOP steps up crime message in midterm’s final stretch

NEW YORK (AP) — The graphic surveillance video shows a man on a sidewalk suddenly punching someone in the head, knocking them to the ground. With muted screams and gunshots in the background, the video stitches together other surveillance clips of shootings and punching on streets and subway trains as a voiceover says, “You’re looking […]
23 hours ago
Javier Diaz poses for a photo next to his home that was destroyed by Hurricane Ian in La Coloma, in...
Associated Press

10 days later, Cubans still recovering from Hurricane Ian

LA COLOMA, Cuba (AP) — Soldiers fix roofs and raise power poles under a blazing sun, while teachers salvage wet school books and residents cook over wood fires in La Coloma, a fishing and industrial town on Cuba’s coast that took the brunt of Hurricane Ian. Ten days after the storm left still unquantified devastation […]
23 hours ago
FILE - A sign advertises for help The Goldenrod, a popular restaurant and candy shop, Wednesday, Ju...
Associated Press

US hiring likely slowed last month (which may be good news)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The piping-hot U.S. job market may be cooling off, if only slightly. But what business managers, policymakers, investors and economists want to know is this: How cool would be cool enough for the inflation fighters at the Federal Reserve to begin to ease their aggressive interest rate hikes? The government’s jobs report […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Rape, incest exceptions out of South Carolina abortion bill