COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina lawmakers could pass more restrictive abortion legislation following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Republican and Democratic state lawmakers had passionate, but contrasting reactions to the high court's decision.
"To me, it's a sad day for all of our daughters, and all of the young women and women in this country who have lost the ability to make decisions that pertain to their bodies," said Rep. Beth Bernstein (D-Richland).
"We can finally unite as a state and do what we've always wanted to do which is protect the unborn, so I'm really excited," said Rep. Melissa Oremus (R-Aiken).
Currently, South Carolina bans abortions after 20-weeks of pregnancy. The Palmetto State does not have a so-called 'trigger law' that automatically bans abortions, However, a new state law banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, or at about six weeks, will soon take effect.
That law has been held up in federal court since Gov. Henry McMaster signed it last year.
"In the next few days, there will be a court order from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, that will likely say this law is fine," said University of South Carolina Political Science Professor Kirk Randazzo. "Once that ruling comes down, then everything will go into effect."
A law passed before the end of the regular session allows South Carolina legislators to return any time after July 1 to respond to the Supreme Court's ruling. Rep. John McCravy is the chair of the 12-member bipartisan committee that will eventually guide abortion legislation in the house.
"We're gonna have public hearings on this. And then we're gonna come up with a bill and we're gonna put that to the house for a vote and I expect the Senate to do the same thing," said McCravy.
McCravy tells News 19 the committee is working to schedule the committee's first meeting. What's unclear is whether Lawmakers will include exceptions for rape and incest.
"I hope the vote will be no exceptions, but I can't promise that and we'll just have to see what the will of the body is," said McCravy.
“I think There is an appetite for a total ban," said Bernstein.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has already filed a motion with the fourth circuit court to have the stay lifted on the fetal heartbeat law.