COLUMBIA - Legislation banning and criminalizing abortions after 19 weeks in South Carolina has advanced in the state Senate.

A panel voted 4-1 on Wednesday to advance the bill after amending it to exclude cases of rape, incest, fetal anomaly and where the life of the mother is in danger.

Legislators also inserted language to protect the use of contraceptives and the morning after pill.

Under the ban, doctors would have to end pregnancies in a way which gives the fetus the best chance for survival.

Supporters believe the ban is needed on the assertion that a fetus at 20 weeks can feel pain.

Opponents welcome the changes but fear the bill is still too restrictive.

The bill, which passed the House 81-22 last month, goes to the Senate Medical Affairs Committee.