A bill banning virtually all abortions — making an exception in cases of incest, rape, or threat to the mother's life — came up two votes short in the red state of South Carolina early Friday morning.
Passing the state Senate earlier this week, the bill would have banned 97% of the 5,700 abortions performed in the state each year. It failed to pass the state House by a vote of 24-21 early Friday morning after a long and heated debate prompted by Democrats.
According to LifeNews, "beginning Thursday, pro-abortion Democrats in the House filibustered the bill, and by early Friday morning, lawmakers voted to send the bill back to committee, WLTX News 19 reports. The vote was 24-21. Because there only are three days left in the legislative session, the vote basically killed the bill."
Should the bill have passed, Gov. Henry McMaster said he would have signed the bill. In response to the failed vote, Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant said the state will keep fighting.
"I'm just extremely disappointed," Bryant said on Twitter. "The rights and the life and liberty of the unborn were set way, way back just now."
Abortion activists have celebrated the victory.
"The abortion ban in South Carolina is no longer," said state Sen. Marlon Kimpson, a pro-abortion Democrat who led the filibuster. "After hours of filibuster, the bill has now been recommitted to committee. Women will continue to have the right to choose and make their own personal decisions about their bodies in consultation with their families and doctors."
The law had no chance at standing given the framework of the much-maligned SCOTUS decision known as Roe v. Wade. However, lawmakers hoped the law would trigger a chain reaction that would lead to a direct challenge to the 1972 decision. "It's designed to give the court an opportunity to revisit Roe v. Wade," said state Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey.
As South Carolina just demonstrated, even deeply conservative states will have an uphill battle outlawing abortion in the event of Roe v. Wade being overturned.