South Carolina lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday that would make it illegal to receive an abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
The House pushed the legislation forward with a 70-31 vote after debating the issue for more than five hours, according to the Post and Courier.
It is expected to be brought up again this week and discussed before heading to the Senate floor, the newspaper reports.
“Whether the Senate takes it up this year or next year, every time the House has passed something, we move closer to the goal of protecting life,” said Majority Leader Gary Simrill (R-Rock Hill).
Roughly two-thirds of the abortions reported in South Carolina are conducted after six weeks of gestation, according to local health department data.
Fetal heartbeats typically are detected around five to eight weeks in most pregnancies.
“What this bill is going to do is effectively end access to abortion before these women even find out they’re pregnant,” said Democratic state Rep. Justin Bamberg, one of the bill’s leading opponents.
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SOURCE: New York Post, Chris Perez