South Carolina Republican Governor Henry McMaster called the state legislature back for a special session Tuesday to continue work on a bill that would ban most abortions before six weeks and other more laws.
“I am calling the General Assembly back for an additional legislative session to increase penalties for illegal gun ownership, pass bond reform, protect life, and pass a budget,” McMaster said in a tweet on Friday. “The General Assembly has made progress this year, but there is still work to be done.”
The General Assembly ended its legislative session on Thursday but has yet to pass Senate Bill 474, otherwise known as the “Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act,” which would ban most abortions after early heart activity is detected. fetus or embryo. Such activity is usually noticed as early as six weeks of pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant.
The bill offers exceptions for fatal fetal anomalies, or to prevent death or “irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” of the mother throughout pregnancy. It also allows exceptions of up to 12 weeks for cases of rape, incest, or if the pregnant person is under the age of 17.
The legislation passed the Republican-controlled state Senate in February but has yet to pass the state House.
South Carolina passed a similar 6-week abortion ban in 2021, but the state Supreme Court struck it down earlier this year, concluding that the state’s constitutional privacy protections required limits on the procedure to give women enough time to terminate the pregnancy.
Recent efforts to pass more abortion restrictions also failed in April when the state Senate failed to pass the “Human Life Protection Act,” which bans most abortions in the state, in a 22-21 vote with five women voting against it – including three Republicans. The bill was previously passed by the state House and includes exceptions for incidents of rape or incest.