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South Carolina senate approves 20-week abortion ban

[JURIST] The South Carolina Senate [official website] approved legislation [HB 3114 materials] on Tuesday that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation. The Senate approved [AP report] the legislation by a vote of 36-9 allowing exceptions only if the mother's life is in jeopardy or if a doctor were to determine that the fetus cannot survive outside the womb. There are no exceptions for rape or incest, nor does the measure's definition of a "fetal anomaly" allow for the abortion of a fetus with a severe disability if the child could live. Doctors who violate the proposed law [Greenville News report] could face up to $10,000 in fines and three years in prison. If the bill passes in the South Carolina House, it will be sent to Governor Nikki Haley [official websites].

Abortion and reproductive rights issues [JURIST backgrounder] have been heated topics throughout the US. On Friday the US Supreme Court ordered that Louisiana may not enforce an abortion law [JURIST report] from 2014 that would require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges in a nearby hospital and significant surgical upgrades to abortion centers. Last month the Indiana Senate released a bill [JURIST report] from committee that would ban abortions based on genetic disabilities and would also require aborted or miscarried fetuses to be cremated or interred. Also last month the Oklahoma Supreme Court reversed [JURIST report] a lower court decision upholding a law that restricts use of medication abortion drugs. Also in February Ohio's governor John Kasich signed [JURIST report] a bill that would purportedly cut state-funds to Planned Parenthood by $1.3 million. In November the US Supreme Court granted certiorari [JURIST report] to decide whether a Texas law, which requires that clinics have similar facilities to surgical center, posed an undue burden on the availability of abortion on the state. Oral arguments in the case were heard [JURIST report] last week.

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