S.C. House to take up 20-week abortion ban

COLUMBIA — A proposed ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy is headed to the floor of the S.C. House.

The House Judiciary Committee approved the “fetal pain” bill after about an hour of debate, mostly between Democrats and the bill’s main sponsor, Rep. Wendy Nanney, R-Greenville. It says that 20-week-old fetuses can feel pain and bans abortions after that point unless a mother’s life is in danger.

A similar bill passed the House last year but didn’t get past the Senate. This year, the bill lists 48 of the House’s 124 members as sponsors.

The committee’s 15-5 vote followed extensive questioning by Democrats, including House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford and Rep. James Smith. They argued that the bill would expose the state to a costly lawsuit, and they questioned why it didn’t include an exemption for victims of rape or incest.