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S.C. 20-Week Abortion Ban Bill Fails as Session Ends; 'Personhood' on Primary Ballot

S.C. 20-Week Abortion Ban Bill Fails as Session Ends; 'Personhood' on Primary Ballot

June 10, 2014 — The South Carolina Legislature ended its two-year session on Thursday without voting on a bill (H 4223) that would prohibit most abortions beginning at 20 weeks of pregnancy, the Greenville News reports (Smith, Greenville News, 6/5).

Bill Details

A state Senate committee had advanced the legislation in April after adding exemptions for rape, incest, and fetal anomalies. Formerly, the only exception to the ban was to save a woman's life (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/2).

The bill was given priority status on the Senate calendar but was never debated and died when the session ended on Thursday (Greenville News, 6/5).

The bill also would have required a physician to try to deliver the fetus alive, estimate the age of the fetus and report the patient's age, her race and the method of abortion to the state.

Physicians who violated the ban could have faced civil charges of "unprofessional conduct." Those convicted of criminal charges could have faced up to three years in prison and penalties of up to $10,000 (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/2).

'Personhood' Question on Primary Ballot

In other South Carolina news, voters in the state's Republican primary on Tuesday will be asked whether the state constitution should be amended to guarantee rights "to both born and pre-born persons beginning at conception," the Charleston City Paper reports.

The non-binding ballot question is meant to "take the temperature of ... loyal primary voters" (Spence, Charleston City Paper, 6/6). The vote comes after two "personhood" measures introduced by state Sen. Lee Bright (R) failed this year after they did not meet a legislative deadline (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/5).