South Carolina Democrats defeated a Republican-backed abortion ban in the state that sought to restrict the procedure to cases of rape, incest, or a threat to the mother's life.
In a 24-21 vote in the early hours of Friday, the Republican-controlled Senate voted to reject the ban, facing a Democratic filibuster "with no end in sight," according to South Carolina's The State newspaper.
On Wednesday night, the Senate voted 28-10 to pass the ban, but the Democrats promised to filibuster the final vote. After four unsuccessful attempts to stop the filibuster, the GOP backed down.
"With three (legislative) days remaining and other issues affecting a lot of South Carolinians that we have to address and no realistic opportunity of success in sight, we had to move on," Republican Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey told The State.
If it had passed, the proposal would likely have banned 97% of the approximately 5,700 abortions performed in South Carolina every year, according to Democratic Sen. Brad Hutto. It was part of the Republicans' ongoing effort to eventually overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that provides women with the right to safe, accessible abortions.
DNC chair Tom Perez and DNC associate chair and former South Carolina Democratic Party chair Jaime Harrison released a joint statement after the filibuster, saying:
"South Carolina Republicans voted for this unconstitutional measure in the dead of night because they know it can’t stand up to the light of day. They were hoping South Carolina voters wouldn’t notice. But Democrats held the line and protected a woman's right to choose. South Carolina Senate Democrats were not only fighting for women in South Carolina, but last night they held the line for women’s rights across the nation. The defeat of this bill should send a warning shot to Republican lawmakers in every state: If you try to ignore Roe v. Wade and violate a woman's constitutional rights, Democrats will fight you at every turn."
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