Senate starts abortion debate that could derail session

May 1, 2018 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina senators have started an abortion debate that Democrats warn they may filibuster until the session ends next week.

Senators took up the dismemberment abortion bill Tuesday.

The bill would outlaw a practice in which doctors use forceps to pull apart a fetus before removal from the womb.

The practice took place in 22 of the 5,736 abortions performed in South Carolina in 2016 in cases where fetuses had severe, unsurvivable medical abnormalities.

A party line vote of Republicans put the abortion bill on priority debate Thursday. Democratic Sen. Brad Hutto says he is willing to end the session filibustering. There are five working days left before May 10 adjournment.

Republican Sen. Richard Cash of Powdersville took the floor to start, trying to pass an amendment banning all abortions.