South Carolina has passed a bill banning abortion after 19 weeks, becoming the 17th state to pass the restrictive ban.
It will now head to Governor Nikki Haley’s desk, where the Republican will almost certainly pass it after finalizing its details.
Republican Wendy Nanney, the bill sponsor, has said she’s hopeful the law is a step to eventually ‘get rid of abortion altogether’.
The ban allows exceptions only if the mother’s life is in jeopardy or a doctor determines the fetus can’t survive outside the womb.
The measure’s limited definition of ‘fetal anomaly’ means it would be illegal to abort a fetus with a severe disability if the child could live. Such anomalies are generally detected around 20 weeks.
That ‘fetal anomaly’ exception was crucial for the bill clearing the Senate, where Democrats had blocked the legislation for years.
Similar laws are in effect in 12 states. They’ve been blocked by court challenges in three others, and the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule on the ban’s constitutionality. A South Dakota law signed in March takes effect this summer.