COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - 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.Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.