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House OKs budget after all-night debate

Mar 18, 2010 8:07:00 AM - thestate.com
Members of the S.C. House passionately debated the state's $5.1 billion budget for nearly 24 hours, and it finally earned an OK after an all-night session where Democrats and Republicans argued over religious faith and misplaced priorities.

A bid to ban abortions under the state health plan -- a move that was rejected a day earlier -- resurfaced and divided Democrats and Republicans over hours of emotional debate late Wednesday.

Tuesday, lawmakers voted 57-54 to allow abortions under the state health plan when in cases of incest and rape or when a pregnancy threatens the health of the mother. The majority proved fragile, however, as lawmakers voted Wednesday night to approve Rep. Greg Delleney's amendment 75-38 that the state would pay if an abortion was an "incidental" effect of a doctor trying to save a mother's life, provided the doctor attempted to save both.

Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, argued passionately to keep the exceptions and for lawmakers to again reject an outright ban on abortions. Cobb-Hunter said the ban would hurt poor women most.

"There are going to be a lot of unwanted children in the world," Cobb-Hunter said. "And, frankly, as a social worker I worry about what is going to happen to them."

USA, South Carolina: (Latest Stories)