The S.C. House of Representatives has taken a significant step in
safeguarding the lives of the unborn with the passage of S.474, known as the “Fetal Heartbeat
Bill”. This pro-life legislation, which restricts abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat,
underscores our commitment to protecting the first and most sacred inalienable right – the right
to life.
“The urgency to address this issue became evident as neighboring states have recently
tightened their abortion laws,” said House Majority Leader Davey Hiott (R-Pickens). “With North
Carolina approving a ban on most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy, South Carolina was
poised to become the sole state in the Southeast where abortions are widely accessible.”
To prevent this, a House panel hearing was convened last week to consider S.474, the revised
version of the “Fetal Heartbeat Bill” previously passed by the Senate. The bill was debated for
over 25 hours this week in a special House Session and ultimately passed with a vote of 82-33,
largely along party lines.
“The passage of this bill reflects our unwavering commitment to protecting the lives of the
unborn”, said House Speaker Murrell Smith (R-Sumter). “Despite the challenges we faced in
gaining Senate approval for the Human Life Protection Act we passed in February, House
Republicans remained resolute in preventing South Carolina from becoming an abortion
destination state.”
S.474 introduces changes to existing state legislation, requiring fetal heartbeat testing, informed
consent provisions, and exceptions for medical emergencies, sexual assault, and fatal fetal
anomalies. It also includes penalties for violations and addresses various provisions related to
state funds, health insurance coverage, and child support.