House strips rape, incest exceptions from 20-week abortion ban

Rep. Wendy Nanney, R-Greenville

COLUMBIA – The House on Tuesday voted to strip a bill further restricting abortions in South Carolina of exemptions for rape, incest and severe fetal anomalies.

Its chances of becoming law this year appear slim, according to its prime sponsor, Rep. Wendy Nanney, R-Greenville, because it remains on hold for 24 hours and only two days remain before the Legislature adjourns until January.

“We still have all of next year to finish it if we need to,” Nanney said. “We are willing to wait to get a good bill.”

The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, four weeks earlier than current state law. It is known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, so named because its supporters claim fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks. That claim is disputed among the medical community.

The House voted 76-26 to remove the exceptions that were added by the Senate last month over the objections of hard-line anti-abortion rights senators and activists. Opponents kept the House from voting on the bill for 24 hours. Lawmakers are expected to take the ban up again tomorrow with little debate.

Nanney also introduced minor changes to the bill to correct a technical mistake, but left much of the original language intact.

Sign up for updates!

Get the latest political news from The Post and Courier in your inbox.


“We’re talking about a woman who has been pregnant approximately five months and in rape and incest cases, that is something that is usually handled in the first few weeks and not five months later,” she said. “It’s a non-issue in this bill.”

Reach Deanna Pan at 937-5764.