© 2024 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
In a 6 to 3 decision on June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, reversing the court's 50-year-old decision that guaranteed a woman's right to obtain an abortion. The court's action also set off trigger laws that banned or severely restricted abortions in some states and prompted protests across the country.

Amended abortion bill heads back to South Carolina House

The South Carolina Senate in September debates a near-total abortion ban passed by the state's House of Representatives.
South Carolina Senate
The South Carolina Senate in September debates a near-total abortion ban passed by the state's House of Representatives.

The South Carolina House of Representatives on Tuesday is scheduled to consider an abortion bill passed earlier this month by the state Senate.

The Senate measure would ban abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy and narrow the exceptions included in the state’s existing “fetal heartbeat” law. Instead of allowing abortions for victims of rape and incest up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, the Senate bill would reduce that window to 12 weeks. It would also allow for abortions if the mother’s life or health are threatened or if the fetus has a fatal anomaly as confirmed by two physicians.

The Senate’s proposed bill is less stringent than the near-total abortion ban passed by the House in August, which would have outlawed all abortions in the state except in cases where the mother’s life was in danger or if the pregnancy was the result of sexual assault for up to 12 weeks. State senators on Sept. 8 lacked the support to pass a near-total ban, and Republicans were unable to overcome a filibuster.

“All options are on the table,” House Speaker Murrell Smith, a Republican, told reporters when asked whether the House would accept the Senate’s changes to the bill when it reconvenes Tuesday, according to The State newspaper. Murrell added that he was “disappointed” in the Senate’s version.

“I understand each body has a different makeup and each body has the ability to put their imprint on the bill, and certainly I respect the Senate as a body and their votes. Obviously, the House is vastly different from their position, but that’s the legislative process,” he said, The State reported.

House Majority Leader Davey Hiott, also a Republican, reportedly agreed. “I don’t think that moved the needle at all when it comes to the pro-life community,” Hiott said.

Meanwhile, South Carolina’s fetal heartbeat law as of Monday remained temporarily blocked by the state’s Supreme Court while justices considered whether the measure violates the state’s constitution and a right to privacy.

The House is scheduled to meet Tuesday beginning at 2 p.m. If the House agrees with the Senate’s proposed changes, the bill heads to the governor’s desk for his signature. If they don’t, the bill goes to a committee, where three House members and three senators will be tasked with reaching a compromise for both chambers.

Claire Donnelly is WFAE's health reporter. She previously worked at NPR member station KGOU in Oklahoma and also interned at WBEZ in Chicago and WAMU in Washington, D.C. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and attended college at the University of Virginia, where she majored in Comparative Literature and Spanish. Claire is originally from Richmond, Virginia. Reach her at cdonnelly@wfae.org or on Twitter @donnellyclairee.