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South Carolina State Sen. Sandy Senn, one of the Republicans who filibustered the pro-life legislation.MSNBC/YouTube/Screenshot

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (LifeSiteNews) — South Carolina Republicans joined forces to kill a pro-life law that would have banned nearly all abortions from the moment of conception in the Palmetto State. The disappointment for the pro-life side comes as South Carolina has become an abortion destination thanks to tougher protections enacted in nearby southeast states after the overthrow of Roe v. Wade last year.

Three female Republican senators collaborated with an Independent and a Democrat to filibuster South Carolina’s pro-life bill over three days last week.

After repeatedly failing to secure the 26 votes necessary to overcome the five-woman filibuster, the South Carolina Senate ultimately shot down the measure in an extremely narrow 22-21 vote on April 27.

“The Senate does not have the votes to pass a ban before six weeks,” Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey said Thursday, adding that he’s “disappointed but not surprised.”

“We gave it our best shot. It’s up to the House now,” he said. “The House has two weeks to save as many lives as possible.”

The pro-life law would have banned nearly all abortions from the moment of conception, with carveouts “for rape or incest through the first trimester, fatal fetal anomalies confirmed by two physicians, and to save the patient’s life or health,” the Associated Press reported. Pro-lifers say there’s never an occasion in which an abortion is medically necessary.

Republican Sen. Sandy Senn, one of the Republicans who filibustered the measure, argued during a floor speech that the bill to protect preborn babies from being murdered in the womb was really about men controlling women.

“The abortion laws have always been, each and every one of them, about control. It’s always about control, plain and simple. And in the Senate, the males all have control,” Senn said.

Meanwhile, Independent Sen. Mia McLeod accused pro-life lawmakers of ideologically “raping” their constituents.

“Just as rape is about power and control, so is this total ban,” she said.

READ: Debunking 5 more myths about the pro-life movement spread by abortion advocates

With the failure of the near-total ban, abortions remain legal in South Carolina until 22 weeks’ gestation, at which point a preborn baby is almost fully formed and can suck his thumb, swallow, kick, and hear his mother’s heartbeat.

South Carolina had previously passed a heartbeat bill, however, that legislation was struck down by the South Carolina Supreme Court in January.

The news also means that South Carolina may remain a destination for women from pro-life states who are seeking abortions since many neighboring southeast states have moved to enact stronger protections for preborn babies.

In nearby Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas, for example, abortion is a criminal offense throughout pregnancy. Meanwhile, six-week heartbeat laws are currently on the books in Florida and Georgia, though Florida’s won’t take effect unless or until the state Supreme Court rules that abortion restrictions don’t violate the state constitution.

Provisional data from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control indicates that pregnant women traveling from other states accounted for over 50% of the 2,927 abortions performed in the first three months of the year.
The South Carolina Senate had passed a new heartbeat bill earlier this year, but the House hasn’t taken it up. Republicans say it’s unlikely that bill gets approved by the House before the legislative session ends May 11, National Review reported.