South Carolina Almost Banned Abortions During a Senate Vote Last Night

May 4, 2018, 1:22 PM UTC

South Carolina legislators on Thursday night attempted to pass a bill that would make virtually all types of abortion illegal in the state.

A lengthy filibuster by Democrats, however, torpedoed the efforts, resulting in a 24-21 Senate vote that sent the bill back to a subcommittee. It’s now not expected to move forward this session.

Under the proposal, all abortions—except those in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger—would have been banned. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster had previously made it clear he would sign any abortion bill.

Had it passed, the bill would ignore the historic 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which would have certainly resulted in a legal fight. South Carolina Republicans said they hoped they were courting that battle, in hopes of reversing the ruling.

Democrats, though, launched a filibuster and refused to yield the floor. State Sen. Marlon Kimpson spoke for six hours, before passing the baton to two colleagues. A vote came at 1 a.m. ET, when Democrats were certain they had enough votes to send the proposal back to committee.

Five Republicans sided with the Democrats in that vote. One said he opted to do so as there were many issues still facing the Senate, which is scheduled to end its session next week.

Abortion has been a hot button issue in South Carolina for some time. Last August, McMaster cut off all public funding to abortion clinics throughout the state.

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