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Lawmakers reject, reconsider, then pass abortion ban; bill now moves to Senate

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Today the South Carolina House of Representatives passed House Bill 5399, a bill that will almost completely outlaw abortion. The bill initially failed the House by a 55-47 vote on Tuesday night. However, after political maneuvering, the House reconsidered the bill and ultimately passed the measure by a vote of 67-38 after adding a limited exception for certain survivors of sexual assault. 

“Anti-abortion lawmakers are shamefully defying the will of their constituents in their crusade to make South Carolina a forced-birth state,” said Vicki Ringer, Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. “Their political game will put lives at risk in a state with already dangerously high rates of maternal and infant mortality, a devastating health worker shortage, and high rates of economic insecurity. This ban puts politicians in control of private health care decisions. This is not what South Carolinians want for their state, and we urge the Senate to reject it.”

We are living in a public health crisis, and 67 South Carolina lawmakers just voted to make it worse," said Alexis McGill Johnson, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Through all their political maneuvering, anti-abortion lawmakers are proving they will stop at nothing to rob their constituents of their fundamental right to decide what is best for their own bodies, lives, and futures. This is not a game: Abortion bans have real and devastating consequences. South Carolinians – and all Americans – deserve better than this.”

According to the South Carolina Health Professions Data book, 14 counties in the state currently do not have an OBGYN, and many have only one.

New polling shows that such abortion bans are wildly unpopular with people in the state. According to the poll, conducted July 1-2 by Public Policy Polling, nearly two-thirds of South Carolinians want abortion to be legal and accessible in their state. Nearly 70% believe the decision to have an abortion should be left to a woman and her doctor — not state lawmakers.

State senators are expected to take up H. 5399 the week of September 6. 

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