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  • A pro-life activist holds a doll and banner while advocating his stance on abortion near the site of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

    A pro-life activist holds a doll and banner while advocating his stance on abortion near the site of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 May 2016

Sixteen other states have passed similar laws as conservatives seek to chip away at women's reproductive rights.

The South Carolina legislature on Tuesday passed a bill banning most abortions after 19 weeks of pregnancy unless the mother's life was at risk, making it the 17th U.S. state to approve such a ban.

The bill will head to Republican Governor Nikki Haley's desk, who indicated in March that she would likely sign the legislation.

The act, proposed last year in South Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature, passed after it was stripped of exceptions for pregnancies that result from rape of incest. The Senate had approved the bill in March.

Sixteen other states have passed similar laws as conservatives seek to chip away at the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion. Courts have overturned the bans in three states.

Critics have said the name of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act goes against medical evidence showing that a fetus at 20 weeks cannot feel pain.

"This is a dangerous bill for South Carolina women ..., made even more extreme by removing exceptions for victims of rape and incest," Alyssa Miller, South Carolina director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, said in a statement.

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