COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – Gov. Henry McMaster signed the Fetal Heartbeat Bill into law Thursday afternoon.
The new law bans most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Most doctors said this is around 6 or 8 weeks into a pregnancy. Previous SC law allowed abortions up to 20 weeks into pregnancy.
There are exceptions for rape, incest, the health of the mother and fetal anomalies under the new law.
Governor McMaster signed the bill Thursday afternoon in front of a crowd of pro-life lawmakers and supporters. Senator Larry Grooms (R-District 37) was the primary sponsor of the bill.
He said Thursday was a day many pro-life South Carolinians had waited a long time for. “We will give our unborn citizens legal protections. God has given then life and now we will offer them the legal protections,” he said.
Governor McMaster thanked lawmakers for moving the bill quickly. He said, “If there is not a right to life – than what rights exist? If not, the elementary, fundamental right to life. We are here to protect that.”
You can watch McMaster’s bill signing below:
Before he put pen to paper, abortion providers filed a lawsuit in federal court to block the ban.
This has happened to similar legislation other states have passed. Those states are still in legal battles and the bans have not been enforced.
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and Greenville Women’s Clinic claim the abortion ban is unconstitutional. Director of Public Affairs for South Carolina Vicki Ringer said, “By passing this law the state has flouted the Constitution and the rights of women in this state.”
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a statement: “My office will vigorously defend this law in court because there is nothing more important than protecting life.”
A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled Friday at 1 p.m. Ringer said she expects the federal judge to grant the temporary injunction and for the state to appeal it.
Ringer said, “Unfortunately it will cost the state a lot of money. Money we don’t have right now. We’re dealing with a pandemic and we have so many other health concerns in this state.”
You can read the Planned Parenthood lawsuit by click or tapping here.