Democratic members of the South Carolina House walked out of the chamber in protest Wednesday before a vote on a bill that would ban nearly all abortions in the state. Republican members are expected to pass the vote easily and it will head soon to Republican Gov. Henry McMaster for his signature. The proposal passed the Senate on Jan. 28. It faces a final procedural vote that likely won’t change the outcome and will then be sent to the governor for his signature. McMaster has promised numerous times in news conferences and formal speeches to sign it as soon as possible.
The bill requires doctors to perform ultrasounds to check for a heartbeat in the fetus. If one is detected, the abortion can only be performed if the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest or the mother‘s life is in danger.
About a dozen other states have passed similar or more restrictive abortion bans, which could take effect if the U.S. Supreme Court — with three justices appointed by former President Donald Trump — were to overturn a 1973 court decision supporting abortion rights. Abortion rights advocates have sued in those states and promise to do the same in South Carolina.