On Wednesday, the South Carolina House passed a heartbeat abortion bill.
The Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act, or Senate Bill 474, must now pass the State Senate.
The bill would prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, effectively banning most abortions by the sixth week of pregnancy. The state senate previously dismissed a proposal, but lawmakers spent several days revising the bill before its approval by the state's House, CNN reports.
If passed, South Carolina will join many other southern states that have also passed abortion restrictions, including Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Georgia, and West Virginia. Virginia would remain the only state without restrictions on abortion.
Meanwhile, North Carolina passed a 12-week abortion ban on Tuesday. The law will take effect on July 1. Florida is also expected to pass a six-week ban if the state Supreme Court upholds the state's current 15-week ban.
Republican North Carolina Rep. Sarah Stevens argued that the 12-week ban and other restrictions in the state would serve as new "safeguards" instead of obstacles to abortion, Fox News reports.
"We seek to balance protecting unborn babies while ensuring the safety of mothers," she added.
Executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, Jamie Lockhart, argued, however, that the new law's passage would be "devastating for abortion access in the South."
Lockhart also noted that increased abortion restrictions across the South would make Virginia an access point for out-of-state women seeking to terminate their pregnancies.
"Despite abortion providers' efforts to increase available appointments and expand access for patients through telemedicine, the dramatic influx in out-of-state patients will lead to longer wait times for people in those access states," Lockhart said.
Earlier this year, Virginia's Democratic majority Senate rejected Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin's (R) push for a 15-week abortion ban during the legislative session.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.