- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 19, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The House has approved a bill banning abortion in South Carolina beyond 19 weeks of pregnancy.

The bill approved 84-29 on Wednesday is one of several anti-abortion measures being debated this year. Another perfunctory vote will send it to the Senate.

Supporters say the issue involves protecting the unborn from pain. Opponents dispute the bill’s assertion that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks.

Clinics in South Carolina don’t provide abortions beyond 19 weeks. Opponents of Rep. Wendy Nanney’s bill say such late-term abortions occur in hospitals, generally in wanted pregnancies that go horribly wrong, and politicians should have no role in such decisions.

The state’s health agency says 25 abortions were performed in South Carolina at 20 or more weeks’ gestation in 2012, the latest data available.

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