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Group of SC senators set to discuss total abortion ban

January 22, 2022 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A group of state senators are getting ready to hear from the public on a bill that would ban all abortions in South Carolina if the U.S. Supreme Court allows it.

The proposal would define that life begins at fertilization and any doctor who performs an abortion after that point could face similar charges to murder.

The bill says birth control and other contraception methods would not be outlawed and abortions could be performed if a mother’s life is in danger or an egg was fertilized outside the womb.

The law would take effect if the U.S.. Supreme Court were to overturn an earlier ruling that protected abortion rights across the country and turned that decision over to the states.

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The hearing of a subcommittee of the Senate Medical Affairs Committee is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The General Assembly passed a law banning most abortions last year. It requires doctors to perform ultrasounds to check for a heartbeat in the fetus, which can typically be detected about six weeks after conception. If cardiac activity is detected, the abortion can only be performed if the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest, or the mother’s life was in danger.

But enforcement of that law has been put on hold as federal courts determine if it is constitutional. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear arguments on the lawsuit on Thursday.