The Latest: Senators OK rare Friday session over abortion
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on a South Carolina Senate proposal to ban nearly all abortions (all times local):
South Carolina senators have voted to return for a rare Friday session as a debate over a ban on nearly all abortions in the state continues.
While the Senate failed in two votes to end the filibuster Thursday, they did decide to return on Friday instead of taking their typical four-day weekend.
Senators are debating a bill that would ban all abortions in South Carolina except in cases of rape, incest or threat to the life of the mother.
The ban was proposed by a Democrat who typically argues against abortion restrictions, but wanted to put a poison pill in a bill that originally banned rare dismemberment abortions.
Democratic state Sen. Marlon Kimpson of Charleston has held the floor in his filibuster for nearly four hours.
The Legislature must adorn by May 10.
South Carolina senators have refused to end debate and vote on a bill that would ban nearly all abortions in the state.
The vote to end a filibuster failed 22-23 on Thursday. It needed 26 votes.
The bill currently bans all abortions except in cases of rape, incest or threat to the life of the mother. If passed, it would be the most restrictive abortion law in the nation.
The bill originally banned a rare abortion procedure called dismemberment abortion, which was performed 22 times in 5,736 abortions in South Carolina in 2016.
In the procedure, a doctor pulls a fetus apart before removing it from the womb. Doctors say it is only done on fetuses who can’t live outside the womb or if the mother’s life is in danger.
There are only three days left in the General Assembly’s session.
The leader of Republicans in the South Carolina House says he doesn’t think his colleagues will support a ban on nearly all abortions being considered in the Senate.
Rep. Gary Simrill of Rock Hill said the bill only allowing abortions in cases of rape, incest or if mother’s life is at risk is a diversion by senators from the real issue of banning dismemberment abortions.
Simrill said unless the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its ruling in Roe v. Wade, the General Assembly must work within existing legal precedents to protect fetuses instead of passing unconstitutional laws.
Simrill says he expects the House to reject the abortion ban if It passes the Senate and work out the differences in a conference committee.
The original bill banned rare abortions where a fetus is pulled apart before being removed from a mother’s womb.
South Carolina lawmakers are considering a ban on almost all abortions in the state.
In a surprise 24-1 party line vote late Wednesday, the state Senate passed a proposal only allowing abortions in cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is at risk.
The bill faces one final Senate vote, and Democrats have promised to filibuster. This year’s session ends May 10.
A Democrat who had spent years arguing against more restrictions on abortion brought up the proposal during debate on whether to ban rarely used dismemberment abortions. Brad Hutto of Orangeburg says the amendment is a poison pill mean to stop the bill from passing or get it tossed out in court.
Only Republicans voted for the proposal.