COLUMBIA, S.C. — A bill banning abortion in South Carolina beyond the 19th week of pregnancy is heading to the full House Judiciary Committee.
A legislative panel voted 2-1 Tuesday to advance the proposal, which provides an exception only when the mother's life is in danger. Doctors who disregard the ban could be charged with a felony.
The bill's sponsors say the measure is about protecting children from pain. The bill states a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks old.
But opponents say that's not scientifically settled, and that other reviews conclude a fetus doesn't feel pain before 24 weeks.
Opponents call the bill an unconstitutional political interference in a women's private medical decision. They contend such late-term abortions are rare and generally occur in wanted pregnancies that go horribly wrong.