Rape and incest exceptions quietly added to SC abortion bill


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina senators on Tuesday quietly added exceptions for rape and incest to a bill that would ban almost all abortions in the state, likely boosting the proposal’s chances of finally passing the chamber and becoming law.

The action came during the first day of debate over the bill, which would require 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.

Most women don’t recognize they are pregnant until after a heartbeat can be detected.

A first vote on the ”“ South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act” is expected Wednesday. Senate Republicans hope to get to a final vote Thursday, but have acknowledged they will give Democrats ample time to speak on the bill.

Some moderate Republicans have said they can’t support the bill if it doesn’t include exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. Several more said the same on Tuesday.

But at least one conservative Republican, Sen. Richard Cash of Powdersville, said he opposed abortion even in case of rape.

“Punish the rapist. Whatever you think needs to be done to right the scales of justice — but it doesn’t belong on the baby,” Cash said.

READ MORE AT ASSOCIATED PRESS

PHOTO CREDIT: kambodza

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