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SC House Committee recommends abortion ban, no exceptions for rape or incest

The proposal includes protections for the life and health of the mother as well as contraception and in-vitro fertilization.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina House committee tasked with drafting a new abortion law is recommending a total abortion ban except for when the life and health of the mother is at risk. 

The state currently bans almost all abortions at about six weeks and includes exceptions for rape and incest. Lawmakers formed the panel after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. 

RELATED: South Carolina fetal heartbeat abortion law is now in effect

The 12-member panel voted nine to three to approve the draft legislation.

“The number one thing that this bill does is to end the practice of abortion being used as birth control in our state,” said Committee Chairman Rep. John McCravy (R-Greenwood). 

The draft legislation lists specific health conditions including miscarriage, molar pregnancy, and ectopic pregnancies that would allow doctors to perform abortions. 

The draft also does not restrict in-vitro fertilizations or contraception's and does not criminalize people for getting an abortion.  However, it does include criminal penalties for doctors who perform illegal abortions. 

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"The number one thing this bill is not do is to endanger the health care of women in any way," said McCravy.

McCravy said a bill banning abortion with exceptions for rape and incest is not truly protecting life.

“What will it do to turn one tragedy into two,” McCravy said.

Restrictions on traveling to another state to get an abortion are not included in the draft. 

The Panels' recommendations come after a seven hour long public testimony hearing two weeks ago. Outside of Tuesday's meeting, protests both for and against abortion rights chanted. 

Democrats on the panel raised questions about the unintended effects of a near total abortion ban. 

“Roe v. Wade has been the law of this land for 50 years. I don’t believe we can answer South Carolina’s issue on how it’s going to impact us in two meetings," said Rep. Chandra Dillard (D-Greenville). 

Dillard brought up the possibility of women who might have to stop working to care for children or stop their education.

"Politicians need to stay out of the medical room, again I repeat, politicians need to stay out of the medical room," Rep. Rosalyn Henderson-Myers (D-Spartanburg) said. 

RELATED: SC lawmakers hear first public testimony on total abortion ban bill

“I do hope if you consider yourself champions of the unborn, if you will also consider making yourself champions of the born,” Democratic Rep. David Weeks said.

Rep. Josiah Magnuson proposed an amendment that would criminalize obtaining medication that would induce an abortion. However, it was quickly tabled by the committee.

The bill has a long way to go. It will be taken up by the House Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks and likely heard by the Senate Medical Affairs Committee in the coming months. 

 “I think anyone who goes out of here today and says this is the final version does a great disservice to our friends and neighbors across the state,” Rep. Micah Caskey said. “And so, I think it’s important that we not take a snapshot and hold it up as a final product.”

A lawsuit against South Carolina's six week ban was filed last week by Planned Parenthood and several other groups, citing the law violates the state's constitutional right to privacy, equal protection, and due process. 

RELATED: GOP lawmakers want would-be fathers to pay child support from conception

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