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Abortion bans in deeply conservative Nebraska and South Carolina both fell short of advancing in close legislative votes amid heated debates among Republicans, yet another sign that abortion is becoming a difficult issue for the GOP.

In Nebraska, where abortion is banned after 20 weeks of pregnancy, an effort to ban abortion about the sixth week of pregnancy fell one vote short of breaking a filibuster. Cheers erupted outside the legislative chamber as the last vote was cast, with opponents of the bill waving signs and chanting, “Whose house? Our house!”

In South Carolina, lawmakers voted 22-21 to shelve a proposed near-total abortion ban for the rest of the year. Republican Sen. Sandy Senn criticized Majority Leader Shane Massey for repeatedly “taking us off a cliff on abortion.”

“The only thing that we can do when you all, you men in the chamber, metaphorically keep slapping women by raising abortion again and again and again, is for us to slap you back with our words,” she said.

The Nebraska proposal, backed by Republican Gov. Jim Pillen, is unlikely to move forward this year. And in South Carolina, where abortion remains legal through 22 weeks of pregnancy, the vote marked the third time a near-total abortion ban has failed in the Republican-led Senate chamber since the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade last summer.

The state has increasingly served patients across a region where Republican officials have otherwise curtailed access to abortion. Six Republicans helped block motions to end debate and defeated any chance the bill will pass this year.

Fourteen other states have bans in place on abortion at all stages of pregnancy. They are Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Four other states have bans throughout pregnancy where enforcement is blocked by courts. The majority of those bans were adopted in anticipation of Roe being overturned, and most do not have exceptions for rape or incest.

In Utah, a judge on Friday will consider a request from Planned Parenthood to delay implementing a statewide ban on abortion clinics set to take effect next week. Planned Parenthood argues a state law passed this year will effectively end access to abortion throughout the state when clinics stop being able to apply for the licenses they’ve historically relied on to operate.


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