South Carolina Senate passes bill outlawing most abortions

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would outlaw almost all abortions in the state, overcoming years of hurdles thanks to Republican winning new seats in last year’s elections.

The 30-13 vote is likely the final hurdle for the bill. It has passed the House easily in previous years and Gov. Henry McMaster has repeatedly said he will sign it as soon as he can.

The South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act requires doctors to use an ultrasound to try to detect a fetal heartbeat if they think pregnant women are at least eight weeks along. If they find a heartbeat, and the pregnancy is not the result of rape or incest, they can’t perform the abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger.

Similar bills have passed in about a dozen other states but are tied up in courts. Both abortion rights advocates and opponents are waiting to see if the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in and rules any of the stricter bans are constitutional , especially since former President Donald Trump was able to name three justices.

Jeffrey Collins, The Associated Press