A six-week abortion ban will go into effect immediately in South Carolina after it was signed into law by Gov. Henry McMaster. All abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detected, which usually occurs at six weeks of pregnancy, will be prohibited by the new ban.
McMaster said: “With my signature, the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act is now law and will begin saving the lives of unborn children immediately.
“This is a great day for life in South Carolina, but the fight is not over.
“We stand ready to defend this legislation against any challenges and are confident we will succeed.
“The right to life must be preserved, and we will do everything we can to protect it.”
A lawsuit has been filed by abortion providers Planned Parenthood and Greenville Women’s Clinic in opposition to the state’s ban with hopes of getting a temporary restraining order to prevent the enforcement of the law, ABC News reports.
Planned Parenthood said in a statement: “Abortion providers have asked a state trial court to block S. 474 on the grounds that it violates South Carolinians’ constitutional rights to privacy, equal protection, and substantive due process by banning abortion, providing inadequate protections for patients’ health, conditioning sexual assault survivors’ access to abortion on the disclosure of their personal information to law enforcement, violating the Medicaid Act, and improperly targeting Planned Parenthood through an unconstitutional bill of attainder.”
A former so-called “heartbeat ban” was signed into law by McMaster in 2021, however it was scrapped by North Carolina’s Supreme Court in January.
Nearly all abortion services have stopped in fifteen states after Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, which halted federal protections for abortion rights.
According to the new ban, abortions are permitted to stop the death of the pregnant woman, to prevent the serious risk of a substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function, if the pregnancy has been the result of rape or incest and if the fetus has a fatal anomaly.
Psychological and emotional conditions are not exceptions.
Conditions such as molar pregnancy, partial molar pregnancy, blighted ovum, ectopic pregnancy, severe preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome, abruptio placentae, severe physical maternal trauma, uterine rupture, intrauterine fetal demise and miscarriage are listed under the exception according to the bill.
The ban’s violation holds a penalty of being guilty of a felony and, upon, conviction must be fined $10,000, face prison time of up to two years or both.
Any physicians or medical providers found to be guilty of performing illegal abortions will also have their licenses revoked.
Planned Parenthood and its partners have said it is prepared to challenge the ban in court.
The statement read: “Abortion is already difficult to access in South Carolina, with only three abortion clinics in the state and a range of limitations on access imposed by state lawmakers. South Carolina ranks 43rd — in the bottom 10 of all states — with the highest maternal mortality rates.
“Women here are three times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than the average U.S. woman.”