COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A small group of state senators are holding a hearing over whether South Carolina should follow the lead of other states and ban nearly all abortions .

The bill banning almost all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected around six weeks into pregnancy easily passed the South Carolina House earlier this year and is enthusiastically supported by Gov. Henry McMaster.

But some backers aren't sure it can get the two-thirds support likely needed to overcome procedural hurdles in the Senate.

Supporters hope Tuesday's daylong hearing gives the bill more time to pass when the South Carolina Legislature returns in January. The sale of state owned utility Santee Cooper and an education overhaul bill are also awaiting action.

Several states have passed similar bans, but court challenges are holding them up.

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