COLUMBIA, S.C. — The fate of a state abortion bill now heads to the House after passing the Senate Thursday.
Opponents argue that the bill is unconstitutional, but one lawmaker explained to News19 that that’s the point.
The “fetal heartbeat” bill passed by a 30 to 13 vote in the South Carolina Senate. "This is a big win," said Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey.
He added that passing S.1 was a top priority for republican senators this year.
"S.1 is a limit that would only allow 6 weeks for an abortion to be performed and that is a point in which most people don’t know they’re pregnant," said Courtney Thomas. "So, Roe v. Wade is something that is current standing law for the nation and S.1 is a direct challenge."
Thomas works for the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network. She said the abortion bill is unconstitutional because it goes against the 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade.
Senator Massey said many hope this bill helps eventually make changes to the landmark ruling.
"We know that this is going to have to go the U.S. Supreme Court, but we think we’ve got a good shot when we get there," explained Massey. "A lot of things are different and I think there's a lot of feeling that there's an opportunity for the Court to take a different look at all these laws."
Many opponents of the bill are unhappy with the added rape and incest exception because it requires doctors to report allegations to the police. If a doctor failed to do so, they could face a $10,000 fine and felony charges.
The South Carolina Senate Democratic Caucus called the bill immoral, extreme and an attempt to strip away women’s rights.
In a written statement, they say, “this abortion ban will be struck down like every other abortion ban in every other state that has attempted before this one. What was done today was entirely political theater to appease extremists.”
Now that the bill has passed in the Senate, the House could begin discussions as early as next week, where it’s expected to easily pass.
Governor Henry McMaster supports the bill and has said several times he will sign it into law as soon as it reaches his desk.