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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A Senate panel has advanced legislation that opponents say could outlaw abortion and emergency contraception in South Carolina.

The Judiciary Subcommittee on Thursday approved 3-2 the "Pregnant Women's Protection Act," which states a pregnant woman has a right to use deadly force to defend her unborn child from any threat.

Opponents are concerned with its language and call it a back-door attempt to end abortions. Supporters say it is needed to stop physical attacks on pregnant women, even though state law already gives residents the right to use deadly force to protect themselves against an attacker wherever they are.

A separate bill was discussed which would outlaw abortion outright by granting legal rights at conception.

Opponents warn the bill will also outlaw birth control pills, stem cell research and fertility treatments.

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